Jackie Nitschke Center: Talk to your college-aged kids about alcohol and other drugs

(Green Bay, Wis.) – Did you take the time to talk to your college freshman about alcohol and other drugs before sending them off to school. Even if time ran out before the move to campus, it’s still important to have that conversation to be sure they’re prepared when a beer, or something more potent, is handed to them at a party?

“It is so important for parents to talk openly and honestly about the temptations their children will see as incoming college students,” said Tina Marie Baeten, clinical supervisor at the Jackie Nitschke Center in Green Bay. “Yes, they may see these things while in high school, but in college it can go to a whole different level as they try to fit in to new situations and friends without the adult supervision they had in the past. That’s why parents need to talk to their college-bound student about the impact alcohol and drugs can have on their classwork, relationships and safety.”

In addition to having conversations about the topic, Baeten says parents can also help by:

  • Making sure their student understands their college or university’s alcohol and drug policies, including the consequences for breaking the law
  • Providing ongoing support to their student during the school year, especially those first few weeks away from home
  • Learning about and supporting the school’s alcohol and drug prevention efforts
  • Making sure their student knows the signs of alcohol and drug related problems

Baeten notes that a 2019 survey found that 52.5% of college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month. “So don’t be surprised or hurt if your youngster uses alcohol when away at college. It’s bound to happen. That’s why talking to them about good decision making is so important.”

Finally, if your student confides in you that they think they may have a problem, or have difficulty saying no to alcohol or drugs, get help. Talk with a trained professional about your options and how you can intervene before things get out of hand.

For more information about substance abuse and treatments, visit the Jackie Nitschke Center website at www.jackienitschkecenter.org or call (920) 435-2093.