How do I talk to my kids about fentanyl?

Because fentanyl is now present in so many illicit drugs, it's imperative that families talk about it together. Educating youth about fentanyl empowers them to make safer choices, and having continued conversations gives parents and caregivers a chance to share updates and correct any misinformation. We are here to help, with tips and resources to assist you as you have these crucial conversations.


  • Let your child know in advance that you want to have this conversation.

  • Acknowledge that it can be hard or awkward to talk about these issues.

  • Share with them that even if they don’t feel like the information relates to their own lives or choices, you want them to be prepared in the future and be able to help a friend.


  • Educate yourself first. Before you talk, get comfortable with the facts about fentanyl and counterfeit pills by reading our Fentanyl Facts section. You don’t have to become an expert - identify the top three concepts that you want to get across to your child - this is about as much as they can absorb in one conversation.


  • Start by asking what they know or have heard about fentanyl.

  • It’s also okay to not be the expert - a fun way to have this conversation is by suggesting that you and your child learn together. Explain that you don’t know everything, and you want to learn. That way they can have ownership over educating you and themselves about the risks of the new drug landscape and you both can continue to share new information with each other.

  • Think about some things you want to learn about, and how you could ask your child in a way that conveys curiosity and compassion.


  • For important and potentially awkward conversations like these, it’s helpful to know what you’d like to say before you say it. Take time, in front of the mirror or with a partner, to run through the points that you feel are most important.

  • Consider how your child will react to the information. They might say things like "I know what I'm doing - don’t worry about me” or “Don’t you trust me?” Try to anticipate how the conversation may go and come prepared to respond calmly to any situation.


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