Talking Kits: Suspected Drug Use

Conversation Goals

Starting conversations with your teen when you believe they’ve already begun using drugs can be one of the most difficult things to do as a parent. It can be challenging to acknowledge the issue is happening, and it can be even harder to break the silence about it. As tough as it is to start these conversations, they have the potential to be life-saving. The goals of this discussion are to address the unhealthy behavior, express your concern, and, if necessary, suggest professional help.

Conversation Starters

Talking Tips


  1. Wait until they’re sober or not in a crisis. Timing is important.
  2. Remember that addiction is a brain disease that may affect your child’s ability to be rational.
  3. Before you start talking:
    1. Take the time to get your thoughts together and think objectively.
    2. Decide what you want the outcome of the conversation to be, then work towards it.
  4. Stick to the facts and remain calm.
  5. Use “I care” messages and “I” statements.
  6. Focus on their behavior, not them as a person.
  7. Be persistent and patient.
  8. Know your limits. Recognize when you need to refer your loved one to professional resources, like NCADA.
  9. See if they’re open to getting another opinion about what’s going on from a professional.


  1. Don’t confront your teen when they are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  2. Don’t confront when your teen is angry – or when you’re angry.
  3. Don’t preach, give advice, or label with words like “addict.”
  4. Don’t be personally offended by their comments.
  5. Don’t let your teen turn the problem on you.
  6. Don’t give up, but don’t argue or debate with your teen.
  7. Don’t feel guilty. Know you are a good parent. You did not cause this.

Remember: just because your teen has used drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that you are a “bad parent” or that they are a “bad kid.” It is possible to intervene and get them back on a healthy path. PreventEd has dedicated professional counselors that are available to help your family.

Need more help? Call PreventEd at (314) 962-3456