"The substance abuse epidemic is at a stage where prevention needs to start at the kitchen table in every household."
– Dr. Faisal Kahn, Director, Public Health- Seattle and King County
The City of Issaquah joins Seattle-King County Public Health in encouraging residents to start “kitchen table conversations” with family, friends and loved ones as a proven method of preventing drug misuse, addiction and death. Last year in King County, over 1,000 people died from opioid overdoses. Some 60% of those deaths were related to intentional or accidental fentanyl use. In King County a teen dies of overdose about every two weeks. Fentanyl is a highly addictive drug that is flooding our region through numerous means.
Here are some tips from our partner, Influence the Choice, on how to initiate, navigate, and continue kitchen table conversations about substance abuse.
- Initiate a brief dialogue
- Keep it short (so it doesn’t become a lecture)
- Listen and learn; let others know you are paying attention to their perspectives
- You don’t have to have all the answers
- Keep the conversation age-appropriate
- A bunch of little conversations are better than “the big conversation”
- It’s never too early or too late to talk with your loved ones about drugs
Words to use as conversation starters:
- If you have observed worrisome behavior, say: “I’ve noticed that . . . . “
- Tying the conversation to something happening in the community, to something happening in the news or on social media, say “Have you heard about . . .”
- To keep the conversation more general, say “Have your friends ever talked about . . . “ or “What do the kids at school say about . . . “
- If the person is heading for a party, event or just hanging out, say “Before you go . . .”
- And the all-purpose, “Did you know. . .”
End the conversation with expressions of expectation and caring. “I don’t want you to use or abuse drugs because . . .“
- I love you.
- I want you to stay alive.
- I want you to be healthy.
- I don’t want you to become dependent on alcohol or drugs.
- I want you to be happy, just the way you are.