What if a young person asks about your experience with drugs?

Sometimes young people ask questions like “Have you ever used drugs?” How you answer is a personal decision. It’s ok to say “I’d rather not talk about that” or “I don’t think today is the right day to get into my life history.”

You might say, “I promise to tell you one day, I just don’t feel ready to right now.” That way, it doesn’t feel like you are shutting down the conversation, but it also gives you time to consider your answer. If you do choose to share, think about how what you say can help you connect with your child and deepen their understanding of the issues involved.

You may want to talk about how the fact that fentanyl is present in so many illicit drugs today makes it more risky to experiment with drugs than it was in the past. You can talk about other things that have changed as well, saying something like “When I was growing up, we did not have the brain scanning technology that we do today. We didn’t understand how risky drug use during your teen years is. We were told not to use, but were not given science-based explanations about how it might affect us.”

Parents with a history of substance use sometimes say that they regret some of the choices that they made and they are trying to help their child avoid making similar mistakes.


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