Dear Parents:

A new effort is underway across Ohio to prevent drug abuse among Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens – our children. Governor John R. Kasich and First Lady Karen W. Kasich have launched Start Talking! to give parents, guardians, educators and community leaders the tools to start the conversation with Ohio’s youth about the importance of living healthy, drug-free lives.

A majority of substance-free adolescents credit their parents for the decision not to use illegal substances. Likewise, teachers and other authority figures can have a similar influence on youth and their decision-making.

Parents, mentors and peers can make a difference just by talking to the young people in their lives about drug abuse. Please Start Talking!

Start Talking website link:

You can sign up to receive tips, information, and periodic updates on how to help your child.



TALK FREQUENTLY - Make it a habit to talk to you child daily about everyday stuff. Once you have made it a routine to talk about normal, everyday activities, it is easier to steer conversations to more intense discussions about drug use.

SHOW INTEREST - Give your child your full attention when they are talking. Be interested and listen to what they are saying. Show that you are willing to take them seriously and their opinions and comments matter

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY - Avoid being judgmental of talking down to them once your child expresses thoughts about drug use. Even if you do not agree, be willing to hear your child’s viewpoint and be willing to let them express it without criticism.

BE CAREFUL HOW YOU SAY IT - Be aware of your tone of voice. Sometimes it isn’t what we say but how it’s said. Avoid sounding shocked, angry, or disgusted by comments your child might make. Remember, these conversations are difficult for your child, too, and they may not have the conversational skills to express everything they want to say in the most mature way.

KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT DRUGS/ALCOHOL/TOBACCO - The more you know about substance abuse, the more comfortable you will be when conversing with your child. The Parent 360 RX program is a good way to learn updated information on drugs and alcohol and what kids may be hearing and experiencing away from home. Experts say informed parents are more successful in their talks with their kids.

BE RESPECTFUL AND GENUINE - Respect what your child has to say and be fully engaged in the conversation. Be sincere in your reactions and honestly interested in their viewpoint. Kids are more likely to talk about drugs on a regular basis, if they know their comments will be listened to and valued.

THEY TALK; YOU LISTEN - Avoid interrupting your child as they talk. Resist lecturing when it’s your turn to talk.

SCARE TACTICS DON’T WORK - Prevention experts advise that scare tactics and over dramatic statements will not get the attention of your child.

CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS - If the talk gets heated and you show your anger or frustration, the child will most likely stop the conversation. Set emotions aside, offer facts, experience and expectations without harsh judgment.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TEACHABLE MOMENTS - These moments occur everyday. You’re listening to the radio or watching TV, an ad comes on, a situation or news item, involving drugs or alcohol. Use that to bring up the topic and get your child’s reaction. Another good time is when you’re in the car. No one is forced to look face to face and may feel comfortably to talk freely.