Encouraging Parents to Work With Schools to Keep Students Drug Free

Parent messages to their children and school policies for their students about alcohol and drug use should be consistent and firm—drug use is not acceptable. The best way parents can help schools provide strong antidrug policies is to be involved as well. Schools can encourage parent involvement using strategies such as the following:

• Invite parents to learn about the current policies regarding alcohol and drugs. If there is no policy, ask parents to help establish one.

• Encourage parents to become familiar with drug education at the school. Drug education should be taught by trained staff members using age-appropriate methods and be based on current research.

• Suggest that parents talk with their children about the drug education program and go over materials together.

• Talk to parents about school assessments on student drug use and how the
results are used.

• Explain how the school deals with students who are caught abusing drugs. Does the school offer referrals or resources to those who need treatment?

• Discuss any drug prevention program being used in the school and whether it is being evaluated for success. Research indicates that some of the most effective programs emphasize the value of certain life skills, such as coping with anxiety, being assertive, and feeling comfortable socially. When these lessons are combined with drug education, students confronted with the prospect of drug use are better
equipped to resist. 

Adapted from Tips for Parents on Keeping Children Drug Free, U.S. Department of Education, January 2003. To download a free copy of the publication, visit:
http://www.ed.gov/ parents/academic/involve/drugfree/drugfree.pdf.