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Middle School Marks Most Critical Time to Start Ongoing Conversations About Drug and Alcohol Use With Kids

- September is Key Time to Start Talking With 'Tweens': Provides Parents With Helpful Tips and Tools to Begin Middle School Safely


NEW YORK, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Because many parents have a difficult time talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R)'s new nationwide parent movement Time To Talk(TM) (, -- a campaign celebrating the influence parents have on the decisions their children make for themselves -- is providing parents and caregivers with the resources they want and need to protect their children. Middle school is a crucial time for parents to start talking -- research shows that by 8th grade, many kids have been exposed to tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and inhalants. A significant number of middle-schoolers have also been exposed to drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine, or heroin, all of which are very dangerous substances.(1)

With access to conversation starters and a supportive online parent forum, empowers parents to take an active role in prevention by having ongoing conversations with their children during their middle school and teen years.

Some useful tips from for parents and caregivers of middle-schoolers include:

-- Communicate: Make it very clear that you do not want him/her to use

alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, marijuana and other drugs.

-- Ask Questions: Find out if your teen is in situations involving drugs

or alcohol and if they really understand the consequences -- physical,

emotional and legal -- of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use,

including abuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

-- Be Involved: Get to know your child's friends by taking them to and

from after-school activities and social engagements.

-- Check-in: Schedule weekly family meetings to check in with your child's

activities, encourage them to share their experiences and help them

address any potential issues or problems.

For more helpful tips and tools to help get the conversation started with your middle-schooler this September, visit

It is never too early to start having open conversations with children about the dangers and consequences of drug and alcohol use. In fact, a child's entry into middle school marks a critical juncture -- a time when parents need to be aware of their child's new surroundings and the pressures that come with exposure to new peers and social situations. features tips specifically designed to help parents get the conversation started with children entering middle school.

"You may think your son or daughter is still too young, but middle school marks one of the most significant transitions in children's lives and the first time they may be exposed to alcohol, inhalants and drug abuse in a meaningful way," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "Children tend to aspire upwards -- 5th graders want to emulate the behaviors of 7th or 8th graders and so on, right up through high school. For this reason, parents need to start talking with their children early, as they enter middle school, and keep the conversation going as they head off to college. We want to help parents understand they are one of the most influential voices in the lives of their children. Time To Talk is the place where we will continue to provide easy tips, conversation starters and the personal connections parents say they need."

Research has found that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs, yet only 31 percent of kids report learning about the risks of drugs from their parents.

According to data from the 2006 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), nearly one-third of parents say they have a need for more information about drugs; 30 percent say they need tips on how to start a discussion about drugs; 37 percent reported they want information on how to tell if a child is using drugs. A growing number of parents don't just want information; they want advice on what to do and best approaches to having open and honest conversations with their kids. provides parents helpful tips and tools to begin these conversations and the encouragement to help parents keep it going over the long haul. Parents can sign up for free monthly newsletters and gain access to tools such as, Tips for Getting the Conversation Started, How to Help Your Kid Turn Down Drugs and Answering the Question: "Did You Do Drugs?" Insightful, timely and relevant content and resources are updated and added frequently. The site also links to the Time To Talk Yahoo Group, an online parent forum that enables parents to share experiences and connect with others facing similar situations.

Time To Talk has formed strategic alliances with youth and parent-serving organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA of the USA, the National PTA, National Association of School Nurses and Dads & Daughters, to help support Time to Talk in local communities.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership's mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America. Now in its 20th year, the Partnership helps parents and caregivers effectively address drug and alcohol abuse with their children. A major new initiative now unfolding integrates the latest science and research with the most effective traditional media and digital communication techniques to give parents the tools, resources and support they need to help their children lead healthy lives. This effort -- the first ever for the Partnership -- will include a web-based interactive information resource center, parent-to-parent support network, a national toll-free call center and user-friendly online/offline tools. The Partnership depends on donations and support from individuals, corporations, foundations and government. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA for their ongoing generosity.

(1) Percentage of 8th graders reporting percentage of any of their friends use: cigarettes (52 percent), alcohol (65 percent), inhalants (29 percent), marijuana (38 percent), Ecstasy (16 percent), cocaine (16 percent), heroin (10 percent) Source: Monitoring the Future 2006

SOURCE The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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