Talking to young people about substance abuse
Observe the following when talking to a young person about substance abuse:
- Make sure you have ample time and a place where you can talk in peace.
- Stay calm.
- Start by saying something positive about the youth, something that you are satisfied with.
- Proceed as you have planned.
- Say that you are worried. Say that you care.
- Tell the facts, that is, what you have seen, heard or smelled. Do not moralise.
- Ask open questions (what, where, when, etc.) that cannot be answered by a simple yes or no.
- Listen (let the young person tell their story).
- Be prepared for tears or anger.
- Discuss the young person’s goals in life and the influence of drug abuse on them.
- Clearly say that you value the young person and believe in their chances.
- Explain what you are willing to do to support the young person.
- If you are wrong, apologise.
- If the young person needs professional help, discuss the matter and advice them.
(Source: Nuorten akatemia – Päihteet puheeksi harrastustoiminnassa ja koulussa (Youth Academy – Talking about Substance Abuse in Recreational Activities and Schools))