Prevention begins with education.

The importance of prevention

Prevention begins with education. Starting early can reduce the likelihood that your child will become addicted or suffer long-term negative consequences from drug and alcohol misuse and abuse.

Drug abuse comes in many forms, including:

  • Underage use of legal drugs (e.g. tobacco and alcohol)
  • The use of illegal drugs (e.g. marijuana or heroin)
  • The inappropriate use of legally obtained substances (e.g. inhalants, alcohol, prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs).

If you’re a concerned parent or caregiver, talk to your kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol use and misusing prescription drugs. When it comes to drugs, parents or caregivers are the greatest influence in their children’s lives.


Children who learn about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents or caregivers are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t get the information at home.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), although 22 percent of parents believe that what they say has little influence on whether or not their children use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, a national survey of teens shows that those who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their substance use were less likely to use such substances.

Nearly every day, someone in Delaware loses their battle with heroin, prescription painkillers, or other addictive drugs. Teens need to know about the risks and consequences. And they need to hear it from you.

Causes of addiction

12 Reasons Teens Use Prescription Drugs

Talk about it

Start the conversation

Tips on talking to your kids about alcohol and drug use:

  • Stick to the facts — threats and scare tactics aren’t effective.
  • Have regular, nonjudgmental conversations with your child or teen.
  • Use positive reinforcement to boost your child’s self-confidence.
  • Talk to your child when they can pay attention—not while they are distracted (i.e. watching TV, playing video games, or texting friends).
  • Know who your child hangs out with, and talk about their friends. Keep the conversation open about how they’re spending their free time.
  • Make sure your child knows there are consequences.
  • Teach your kid to say no.
  • Don’t try to talk with your child if he or she seems under the influence—wait for a moment when you can have a calm conversation.

How can you help?

As a parent or caregiver, you can take steps:

  • Have regular, nonjudgmental conversations with your child or teen about drug and alcohol use.
  • Watch for changes in behavior and health habits that could be symptoms of addiction.
  • Keep your kid involved in activities that encourage healthy friendships and interests. And keep track of their activities by asking questions and checking in.
  • Establish clear family rules about alcohol and drugs.
  • Be a role model by setting a positive example when it comes to your own alcohol consumption and drug use.
  • Educate yourself on the various substances that pose a danger, and share what you learn with family members.
  • Ask your doctor if there are alternatives to addictive pain medications for yourself or your child.
  • Warn your kid about prescription drugs that are not prescribed for them — a medicine prescribed for a friend or relative is not safe.
  • Lock up your prescription medications, which can be a gateway to illegal drugs. If you have prescription medications that are expired, unnecessary, or no longer needed, take them to a secure prescription drug dropbox in your area.

Get help

There are many prevention resources available. We can help. Call us at 800-652-2929 in New Castle County or 800-345-6785 in Kent and Sussex counties for help using this list and finding the appropriate resources.

Name Age Gender Insurance Locations Phone Website
Delaware Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts
Age:10-19 Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Online resource Phone: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/facts-and-stats/national-and-state-data-sheets/adolescents-and-substance-abuse/delaware/index.html
Delaware School Survey
Age:11-18 Gender:All Insurance:No Locations: Phone:
Delaware’s 24-Hour Child Priority Response Hotline
Age:Children Gender:All Insurance:No Locations: Phone:800-969-4357 or 911
Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families
Age:17 and under Gender:All Insurance:Yes Locations:Statewide Phone:302-633-2600 http://kids.delaware.gov/pbhs/pbhs.shtml
Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dsamh/prevention.html
Heroin Alert Program
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:At local schools Phone:(302) 395-8062 http://www.heroinalert.org/
Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone:855-DRUGFREE (378-4373) http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/
ParentsStepUp.org
Age:Adults Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://parentsstepup.org/
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://www.drugfree.org/
Prescription Drug Action Committee
Age:Adults Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/pdachome.html
Prevent Youth Suicide
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://getrightsideup.org/
Red Clay School Nurses
Age:Parents Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://www.smartmovessmartchoices.org/resources
Resources for talking with teens
Age:Parents Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-publications/info/parents/just-facts/
Strategic Prevention Framework
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dsamh/prevention.html
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Hotline
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations: Phone:800-662-HELP (4357)
The Heroin Trap Program
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone:302-395-8050 http://www.theherointrap.com/
The Medicine Abuse Project
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://medicineabuseproject.org/
Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign
Age:All Gender:All Insurance:No Locations:Visit website for details Phone: http://beta.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking
Name Phone Website
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions
Phone: http://www.cadca.org/
GetSmartAboutDrugs.com
Phone: http://getsmartaboutdrugs.com/
Heroin Alert
Phone: http://www.heroinalert.org/
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
Phone: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/high-intensity-drug-trafficking-areas-program
Hope Street DE
Phone: http://www.hopestreetde.com/
How to reduce the abuse of prescription painkillers
Phone:
Prescription Drug Action Committee
Phone: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/pdachome.html
Resources for talking with teens
Phone: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-publications/info/parents/just-facts/
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helpline
Phone:800-662-HELP (4357)
The Heroin Trap
Phone: http://www.theherointrap.com/
University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health Studies
Phone: https://www.cdhs.udel.edu/