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Info for Parents Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Take Action! Preventing alcohol and other drug problems in your family

Talk about it

When a family knows how to talk — and listen — to each other, serious problems, like those related to alcohol or other drugs, are less likely to develop. Being able to talk openly and honestly with one another strengthens families and brings family members closer together.

Things You Can Do:

  1. Make sure your family talks about alcohol and other drugs before there is a problem. Make sure you know the facts! If you don't know the answer to a question someone asks, say so and look for the answer together.
  2. Prepare yourself for a variety of attitudes, values and beliefs that will come up when you discuss alcohol and other drugs. Try to sort out your own feelings and understand those of other family members.
  3. Talk about both sides — the pros and the cons — of using alcohol and other drugs. People use alcohol and other drugs for a wide variety of reasons.
  4. Make sure family members, from the youngest to the oldest, have a chance to express opinions without being interrupted.
  5. If somebody’s point of view is unclear, ask for it to be explained in another way, until you understand it. Repeat it to make sure.
  6. Try to “hear” and respond to the feelings behind the words that people use.
  7. Be sensitive to age differences when talking about alcohol and other drugs. Young children, for example, usually accept answers from parents; teens may not. Don't expect teens to agree with everything that their parents say.
  8. Look for interesting ways to bring up the topic of alcohol and other drugs. When you see tobacco, alcohol or other drugs used on a TV show, advertised on a billboard, in a magazine or in a movie, you might want to ask questions like, “Why were drugs shown that way?” or “How did alcohol make that person feel?”
  9. Find out more information about alcohol and other drugs, visit CAMH’s website at www.camh.net. You can also call CAMH's R. Samuel McLaughlin Information Centre at 1 800 463-6273. In Toronto, call 416 595-6111.

The service is available in English and French and offers information on a wide variety of alcohol- and drug-related topics. Taped messages include: Alcohol, Children and the Family; Talking with your Kids About Drugs; Does My Teenager Have a Drug Problem?; and An Early Start: Drug Education Begins at Home.

Information on some of these topics is available in Arabic, Cantonese, Farsi, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu.

CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
Connex Ontario Help Lines
Queen St.
1001 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON
M6J 1H4
Russell St.
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Toronto, ON
M5S 2S1
College St.
250 College St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1R8
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