Today has been designated as “Take Five Day” in Iowa. The spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Dale Woolery, explains the goal of the day. “Take Five Iowa Day is just kind of a marker on the calendar to remind Iowans that it is a good time for parents to talk with kids about drugs, about the dangers of drugs, and to ask a few questions and listen to what the concerns of students might be,” Woolery says.
Woolery says it may be a subject that adults aren’t comfortable with. “When you say talk with kids about drugs, that sounds daunting to a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be, you don’t have to be an expert,” Woolery says. “The main thing is to be interested and engaged, ask some questions, be a resource.” Woolery says his office has information available with age-appropriate tips on how to talk to your child.
He says talking isn’t the only thing you need to do. “Take Five means talk yes, but listen as well. And talk about what is current,” Woolery says. “There is a lot of discussion about marijuana, it is an addictive drug and you don’t want to start on that. Prescription drugs abuse — one of the fastest growing forms of substance abuse — and it is something that could be in a lot of our medicine cabinets.”
Woolery says there is potential risk in a lot of places for kids today.”But by talking with kids about drugs, we can reduce that risk by about 50 percent. The risk that they will ever start using drugs,” Woolery says. He has kids of his own and Woolery knows parents sometimes think kids aren’t listening to them. “Children — teenagers in particular — may not always acknowledge what parents have to share is something they are interested in. But, in the long run, it’s also my experience that they do listen, they do care , they do want to hear what parents have to say,” according to Woolery. “And in some ways they really appreciate boundaries and knowing what parents expect of them.”
If you have questions about how to talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs, you can go to the Office of Drug Control Policy website.