TALLAHASSEE – Spring Break is a time when teens often feel pressured to drink alcohol, use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs. To help youth across Florida stay safe and healthy, the Department of Children and Families is reminding parents to talk to their children about drugs and give tips for parents and children. The advice includes:

Parents are urged to be clear, firm and consistent when discouraging your teen from using drugs and alcohol. Even though it’s difficult, finding a time to sit down and talk with your child is extremely important. Their life and the lives of others could depend on it.

Take opportunities on a regular basis to reinforce that alcohol and drug use are not acceptable. If someone on a TV show or in a movie is using drugs, take the time to talk about the negative consequences of their actions and ask your child what they would do in a similar situation.

If your child is going to be with another family during Spring Break, be sure to find out who will be there and that your child will be supervised. Speak with the parents to decide if they will provide a level of oversight that you are comfortable with.

Talk to your child specifically about drug and alcohol use during Spring Break. Tell them they will not be alone in refusing drugs. A recent statewide study of middle and high school kids showed that the majority of youth in Florida think doing drugs, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol is “uncool.”

Be active in planning parties at your house so that you can control the invite list and make sure there is plenty of fun activities, food  and non-alcoholic drinks available. Check in where the guests are hanging out to make sure no one is drinking or doing drugs.

“Please take some time to talk to your child about this important issue. Let them know that you expect them to make the right choices,” said Rob Siedlecki, DCF assistant secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

“I want you and your children to have a wonderful, drug-free spring break.”

For more information about preventing drug and alcohol abuse, visit dcf.state.fl.us/substanceabuse/prevention