Winooski Prevention Blog

Why should we talk to our kids about drugs and alcohol?

Drugs and alcohol are not easy topics to bring up. Especially with children and teens who may seem like they’re not listening or don’t care what you have to say.

But the truth is children care deeply about their parents’ opinions, even if they don’t show it outwardly. In fact, the #1 reason kids give for not drinking or using drugs is that they don’t want to disappoint their parents.

Two issues Winooski Partnership for Prevention is closely following this legislative session is how the state plans to regulate and tax cannabis, and the push to raise the legal purchasing age of tobacco products to 21.

“Prevention is the most important strategy to turn the curve on Vermont’s opioid challenges,” according to the Vermont Opioid Coordination Council’s latest report, Building Bridges.

“The brain continues to develop until the age of 25, and drug use impacts that developmental trajectory. The later in life one is exposed to potentially addictive substances – nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, stimulants, depressants – the lower the chance of a subsequent substance use disorder developing.”

The Opioid Coordination Council’s 2019 report makes policy and strategic recommendations to strengthen Vermont’s approach to addressing the opioid crisis.

By Ellen Oppenheim

While some of my favorite platforms, such as Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and even Cosmo, usually use their popularity for good, they also seem to promote a lifestyle of binge drinking and normalizing alcoholic behavior. I am not a saint and I am not privy to a lifestyle of booze, but I can say as a 23-year-old sober alcoholic, these marketing campaigns need to stop.

Similarly to tobacco and alcohol, the more prevalent and accessible marijuana is to youth, the more likely they will be to engage in substance use. With low perception of harm and increased accessibility, it becomes crucial to know and share the facts about how marijuana use can affect the developing brain, academic performance, socialization, and future goals.