Drug talk critical for kids

Dr. Marvin Krank will provide a public presentation Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Vernon Secondary School.

North Okanagan parents are being armed with the facts so they can slay the myths as they talk to their kids about drugs.

Dr. Marvin Krank will provide a public presentation Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Vernon Secondary School.

“Talking To Your Kids About Drugs will outline some of the common yet inaccurate and risky misconceptions youth have about drugs and alcohol,” said Krank, professor of psychology at UBC’s Okanagan campus. His research focuses on the development of substance abuse in teens and young adults. Over the past 20 years he has studied the unrealistic thoughts and beliefs held by youth that lead to risky substance use and he will share that evidence at the presentation.

The Vernon School District encourages parents to take advantage of Krank’s expertise and advice to assist them with communicating with their kids.

“Conversations with kids work best when they are honest and open,” said Doug Rogers, the school district’s substance abuse prevention counsellor. “We need to listen to our kids and offer them constructive avenues to deal with stress, anxiety and any other issues which may be bothering them.”

Rogers urges parents to set clear and firm expectations and boundaries with their children while also urging them to use prevention strategies.

“Our kids need to be able to say no and still maintain friendships (we need to build our kids self-esteem). Finally, we need to show our kids that they can have fun without using drugs or alcohol.”

During the presentation, Krank will provide practical advice on how to interact with your kids to help shape healthier beliefs that lead to reduced substance use risks.

“This talk will be of interest to all parents who want to know more about substance abuse in youth and what they might do to prevent it.”

Along with being a parent, Krank’s credentials on the subject include being co-chair of the Canadian Council on Substance Abuse committees on prevention standards and recently served on the United Nations scientific advisory committee on prevention program evaluation.

“Youth over-estimate how much others use and expect mostly positive effects from use. Understanding the source of these biases gives new insights into how effective prevention works,” he said.

Currently, Krank is testing a new program designed to change biased thinking to delay substance use and reduce substance abuse in teens and university students.