Following a recent presentation at Kalamalka Secondary, Dr. Marvin Krank will bring his message to Ellison Elementary Wednesday, Dec. 6. (Photo submitted)

Drug talk comes to elementary school

Vernon parents of elementary-aged kids urged to start talking about drugs now

Their kids may be more interested in Play-Doh than pot, but parents of elementary-aged children are urged to talk to their kids about drugs.

A free presentation, Talking to your kids about Drugs, comes to Ellison Elementary Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Professor of psychology and former Dean of graduate studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus, Dr. Marvin Krank is providing the public presentation. Krank, who has given many presentations to the region, co-chaired the Canadian Council on Substance Abuse committees on prevention standards and recently served on the United Nations advisory committee on prevention program evaluation.

Krank will outline some of the common, “yet inaccurate and risky misconceptions youth have about drugs and alcohol.” He will present evidence showing that these risky thoughts and beliefs can lead to substance abuse in teens.

“We should prepare our kids for misinformation: they will hear things that aren’t true,” said Krank.

He will also offer practical advice on how to interact with kids to help shape healthier beliefs that lead to reduced substance use risks.

“What you say and do matters to your kids,” said Krank, during a recent presentation at Kalamalka Secondary.

Titled, The battle for the hearts and minds of our youth, the latest presentation focused on talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol.

Some of the key subjects included: the impact of drugs on teens and how early use is associated with more substance use later in life and how drug use increases the likelihood of mental illness and interferes with social development.

He also spoke about how drug education needs to focus on social influence – focus on healthy choices, factual information, and families should provide opportunities for healthy adult supervised activities.

“What parents do and say matters to kids. In fact, our kids need adult help more than ever. They need guidance – positive role models, realistic warnings and supports for life’s transitions,” said Krank.

For parents and caregivers, he offers seven simple rules on what to say and do:

* Model low-risk use;

* Set clear, no substance use expectations;

* Monitor: ask about where they are going, who they are going with and what they are going to do;

* Be supportive; listen and empathize;

* Ask questions about the risks;

* Encourage healthy alternatives;

* Accept mistakes as learning experiences.

Parents, grandparents and students are welcome to attend Wednesday’s presentation.

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