Healthy Living: Talking to your kids about drugs and addiction

News of singer Demi Lovato this week overdosing and being hospitalized in California has sparked a national conversation about addiction.

Lovato was found unconscious in her Los Angeles home.  Paramedics gave her the opioid reversing drug, Narcan.  At last check, the pop-star was in stable condition.

Young people across the country look up to Demi Lovato.  Her very public battle with substance abuse likely has many of our teens confused, concerned and asking a lot of questions.

That why it's important parents and caregivers offer support and guidance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics  recommends we talk to kids about drugs as early as 9-years-old.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2 in 10 seniors in high school say they have used prescription drugs without a prescription.

So how do you start that conversation with your kids about addiction and drugs?

The American Addiction Centers  suggest 5 steps that may help.

1. *Set your terms*
Tell your teen you have something important to talk to them about.  Ask them when they'd like to have the conversation.  That will help them prepare and be more engaged.

2. *Avoid accusations*
Don't assume or accuse your child of using drugs unless you have evidence.  Instead, ask them what they know about drugs.

3. *Act early*
Don't wait to have this talk.  Start  when kids are in elementary school and keep having that conversation.

4. *Don't use scare tactics*.
Talk to kids about the consequences of drugs, but focus on the positive.  Tell them  that by saying no to drugs, they will have a lot more opportunities for a bright future.

5. *Call a professional*.
If you can't have the talk or don't know how to start, don't be afraid to reach out for help.  A school or family counselor, even a doctor can help give you some guidance.