Families and Teachers

Parents have a role in preventing prescription drug use among teens


1 in 4 teens report taking a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them. Nearly half teens who have used prescription drugs obtained them from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Take responsibility for talking to your teens about prescriptions and storing them safely

How to talk to kids about drugs



What can parents do to help?


Talk to kids and teens about drugs

It is important to talk to your teens about the dangers of prescription medicines and other drugs – Teens who continue to learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about the dangers.

If you need to talk to your teen about their own drug use, follow these tips for how to prepare for the conversation. You can also download this e-book made just for families with teens or young adults who are struggling with drug use–like prescription pills, heroin, or fentanyl.

Lock up your meds and get rid of them safely

It is important to keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet or box — Nearly half of teens who have used prescription drugs reported getting them from their parent’s medicine cabinet. Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock up their medicine or keep them in a safe place. Follow these three steps to safely store medications in your home.

If you’re finished with a prescription medicine and you have pills left — or if you have any unused prescriptions around the house — The best thing to do is bring them to a drug disposal box or take-back event. Use our map to find a disposal box near you.

Call a Support Line and talk to a counselor or peer

You can connect with the Parent Support Network, where they specialize in support for children, families, and youth transitioning to adulthood. They also offer peer support for adults. You can call their Parent Line at 401-467-6855, or read more about their supportive services on their website.

Rhode Island also has a Support Line for people who want to talk about substance use. If you think that your child may be abusing prescription drugs or if you simply just want to learn more, you can call 401-414-LINK (5465) to talk to a local licensed counselor for free. The Support Line is open all day, every day.


What can teachers do to help?


Talk to your students

Teens learn from what they are taught at school. This website from the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers short videos, infographics, and other resources that teachers can use in class to get their students involved and talking.  The website also provides free activity plans for lessons on critical thinking, the body on drugs, media, peer pressure, friends and more. The Newport Prevention Coalition also has an Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit for faith and community leaders available on their website.

Use an evidence-based teaching program

The Strengthening Families Program is for elementary school children and uses family systems and cognitive-behavioral approaches to improve family relationships, parenting skills, and youth’s social and life skills.

The Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School program helps middle school students develop personal self-management skills, general social skills, and drug resistance skills.

Seven Challenges is a comprehensive treatment program that is designed to motivate youth and young adults to evaluate their lives, consider changes that they may/wish want to make and help them succeed in implementing the desired changes. Seven Challenges was developed for the 12-17 and 18-25 year old population.

Get trained to use naloxone

In our state lawmakers require naloxone to be in all public middle, junior high and high schools. Talk to your school nurse or use our map to find out where you can get naloxone. When you buy naloxone at a pharmacy, the pharmacist will show you how to use it.

Want to learn more?


Risk of Prescription Meds

Know the risks of opioid prescription pain medications and how to reduce the danger that they can pose. The Spanish Version is linked here.

Infographics for teachers

Shareable infographics for how teachers can help stop prescription drug use among teens in English,
Español, and Português.

Infographics for parents

Shareable infographics to help parents in addressing drug use with kids and teens, available in English, Español, and Português.