It’s important to be open and honest with new college students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

It’s important to be open and honest with new college students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Talking to college students about drugs

By Nickolaus Hayes

College students in Alberta are well on their journey to becoming adults, making adult decisions and learning about responsibility and consequences.

However, parents do not lose all power to influence their children once they enter college or university. The risk of binge drinking, drug use and overdose because of fentanyl is worrisome for any parent. Yet the conversation about it does not have to be delicate or challenging.

Here are two critical tips for parents to help educate their children about alcohol, drugs and fentanyl risks before they enter post-secondary life.

Open, Two-Way Communication Reduces Risks

The first few weeks of post-secondary school are critical to academic success. Open, two-way communication before the semester begins is vital to helping your child make responsible choices.

Communication must flow both ways and do not be afraid to initiate the topic surrounding drugs and alcohol. Ask them what they know about it or if they have any questions or concerns. Relate to them about personal experiences and be honest about your experiences in college or university with drugs and alcohol.

The risks are different now. Fentanyl is a significant threat. In 2020, on average, 207 Albertans died from drug poisoning related to fentanyl.

“Treatment options are available, yet it is staggering how many addicts are discovering fentanyl in drugs they use,” said Marcel Gemme of

Ask questions, take an active role in listening and do not lecture, judge or point the finger. Your aim as a parent is to understand their point of view on drugs and alcohol and fill in the blanks with factual information.

Be Prepared To Provide Factual Data & Personal Experience

Do not be ashamed of your past alcohol and drug use. These were learning experiences and knowledge that can be passed on to your child.

The most common reasons for drinking and using drugs in college or university are social and celebratory. However, they may ignore binge drinking and drug use risks, such as sexual assault, violence, legal problems and poor academic performance.

Share the risks with them and real-time data. Share personal experiences and life lessons learned because of these experiences. Listen to their concerns, questions and thoughts without judgment.

In Conclusion

Keep the two-way communication flowing and do not tiptoe through the conversation. Talk to them as adults because they are going to make adult decisions.

But have confidence in knowing, as their parent, you can still influence their decisions. Children will generally always look to their parents for advice. It may not always be directly, but in some way, they are looking for advice.

Look for the cues and speak about drugs and alcohol. As a warning to parents, in Alberta, fentanyl is found in cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine and produced as counterfeit pills. Help your child make responsible choices and avoid the risks with two-way communication, personal experience, facts and real-time data.

About The Author

Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance abuse and addiction recovery. He utilizes his experience in his writing to provide an expert viewpoint. Hayes strives to provide current, up-to-date facts about drug and alcohol abuse to his readers. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance abuse.


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