Talking about Drugs

How do you talk with your child about drugs?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: I often get asked how to keep children away from drugs. I explain to parents that they must model this behavior by making lifestyle choices that help them minimize the amount of prescription drugs that they have to take. When parents must be on these medications, it’s vital that they explain to their children how the meds work and why they are taken. The medications should also be stored safely. As a health care provider, I have to be extra careful about what medications I take, andthus I don’t take any controlled substances. When my son is ill, I make sure to tell him why he can’t take extra medicine, “even though it tastes good, Daddy!”

Just yesterday, I explained to a patient who is dependent on Valium why I am going to detox her from this medication, as her son recently relapsed on prescription medications and stole some of hers. Sometimes words are not enough: I also have to help modify behavior, which can be difficult for patients to hear.

Moshe Lewis MD, MPH, a dad of a four-year-old son, a pain management specialist, and the director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the California Pacific Medical Center, St Luke’s Campus, in San Francisco

Q&A by Wyatt Myers