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Parents can help kids stay away from drug abuse

Jul. 15, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

The list of movies aimed at kids that show (supposedly) loveable stars who use drugs is long and well-known: There's "Cheech and Chong," "Harold & Kumar" and the entire "Hangover" series (including the tiger -- don't ask!). Helping teens stay away from recreational drugs is a big job and one that, unfortunately, some parents don't feel they're up to or don't feel they have the clout to make a difference.

That's info from a new survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration after talking with more than 67,000 Americans over the age of 12. The upshot: 22 percent of parents don't think what they say about drug use will change how their children act. But research shows that nothing could be further from the truth. Among kids who feel their parents strongly disapprove of marijuana use, only 5 percent are willing to risk it; but more than 30 percent of kids whose parents don't make their anti-drug message clear are willing to experiment with pot.

Mom and Dad, you are the health guides in all areas -- from drugs to doughnuts to sleep. When you don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk (we love families who get walking together, aiming for 10,000 steps a day), you are amazingly influential. So gather your kids around (even those teenagers), plan a family meal, schedule regular family walks and set aside time for conversations about the importance of a healthful lifestyle for better grades, higher self-esteem and a brighter future.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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