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The chances are that sooner or later your child will be offered drugs and/or alcohol either at school, at a party or when hanging out with friends. It will be up to them to take a stand and say no from the get go. The fact is that as parents we have a strong impact on the direction this decision-making process will take. Prevention starts in the home with the parents, and the earlier the better. You can help your child make good alcohol and drug related choices by talking and listening to them and by informing them about the harmful affects of underage substance use and abuse. By explaining to them how drinking beer or smoking marijuana can negatively impact their grades, their ability to play sports and their overall chances of succeeding in life, they will have the ammunition they need to avoid this path.

With the cutback in public school funding, many school districts no longer have the money to provide this education like we had during our middle school years. It’s now up to parents to educate themselves to be able to have factual discussions, and to provide the information directly to their kids. One successful way of supplementing alcohol and drug education for you and your pre-teens and teens is to have them take an online alcohol and drug class during their free time this summer.

Taking an online course is a format that most adolescents enjoy and a basic 8-hour alcohol and drug awareness class can be taken from the comfort of their very own home! Parents don’t need to worry about getting their kids to a traditional classroom each day or that they will have to miss camp or summer time jobs in order to attend. The program can be accessed 24/7 from any Internet based computer device like an IPad, Tablet, Smartphone, PC or laptop. There is no limit to the number of times the participant logs in and out, so your teen could spend 20 minutes on the course one day and an hour the next, completely at his or her own pace. It’s also a completely private way of learning which alleviates the issue of being shy or self-conscious in a room full of strangers, which is so common at this age. The other benefit is that parents can opt to sit with their kids and go through the course together. This gives more opportunity for discussion and reinforcement.

What exactly will you learn? Participants will learn how difficult it is for many people to stop, once they start. All of the dangerous health risks including the impact on the brain, nervous system and body are detailed. Students will also learn how this bad behavior negatively impacts friends, family and every aspect of their life. Most importantly, walking away with the facts will give adolescents the education they need to strongly communicate why they are just not interested, to anyone trying to convince them otherwise.

So what is a parent to do?  The bottom line is that it’s up to us to teach our children how to make good decisions. Only they can ultimately say no to drugs. Giving them the tools for drug and alcohol use prevention will enable them to fully understand the choice they are presented with and the consequences of this decision.