Loved one talking to a young adult

Start an Open and Honest Dialogue About Addiction

Educational materials and conversation starters for leading productive conversations about substance use, gambling, and addiction.

Who: Parents, adults, teachers, and coaches should discuss heroin, drugs, and alcohol with young people. Even if the individual does not presently use drugs or alcohol, take a stand before they are influenced by their peers.

What: Talk about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Take advantage of available resources to assist you with initiating the conversation.

Where: Talk wherever you are most comfortable and distraction-free.

When: The sooner the conversation begins, the sooner you can help someone struggling with addiction.

  • Take advantage of community resources. Your family doctor, teachers, school personnel, local law enforcement, and your local prevention provider are resources that can help.
  • Eliminate distractions. Have conversations when you are both attentive and away from distractions.
  • Gain respect. Listen to what people are saying and encourage a two-way conversation.
  • Make your expectations clear. Explain that addiction is a progressive chronic disease and that you will not tolerate alcohol or drug use.
  • Be a role model. Lead by example.
  • Teach them how to say no. Role-play effective ways to say no to drugs and alcohol.
  • Talk openly. Be prepared to answer tough questions.
Kitchen Table Toolkit
Discussion Guides

Get discussion guides that provide information to assist you with methods to start the conversation about addiction.


Watch videos that can be used to discuss addiction at community forums, PTA meetings, teacher trainings and with young people.

Awareness Materials

Download a variety of print materials that can help you continue the discussion or to distribute