Monday, April 13, 2015

Partnership for a Drug-Free NH: Parents have a big influence on prevention

In an effort to address youth drug use in the Granite State, parents are being asked to make a very important pledge in 2015 – a promise to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Resolution 2015, created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH (PDFNH), along with Life of an Athlete (LOA), is part of PDFNH’s Check the Stats NH initiative. The initiative is part of the group’s statewide effort to engage parents and caregivers of children ages 9-17, with a goal of increasing awareness of the prevalence of drug and alcohol use/misuse by New Hampshire youth. Parents are asked to go online and electronically sign the pledge or download the pledge to print.

“Parenting is the most important and effective aspect of prevention,” said Jennifer Cusato, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. “Parents need to have an active role in their children’s lives when it comes to discussing substance use – and they need to start having these conversations earlier than they would think.”

By going signing the 2015 Resolution, parents commit to learning about NH’s youth substance abuse problem, seeking out strategies to help them talk with their children, finding help if needed, and most importantly, talking to their kids. Resolution 2015 has the goal of collecting at least 1,000 signed pledges by the end of the year.

“We need parents to become more educated and aware of what their children are doing, set expectations, be approachable and available for their kids to discuss their concerns, and to know what resources are available to them if they have a child that is abusing drugs or alcohol,” said Cusato.

Dr. Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Manchester School District, adds, “Educators recognize their critical role in the lives of children, and our schools play a part in promoting drug and alcohol prevention. The 2015 Resolution Pledge is one tool we can make available to parents and other community members to help start important conversations.”

Life of an Athlete program director, Donna Arias agrees. “If we can get parents to become very proactive about talking to their kids – all kids, even the ones who don’t seem to be at risk – we are well on our way to helping these kids succeed. We encourage every parent to sign the pledge and keep the promise.” LOA has assisted in getting the 2015 Resolution to parents through the school systems.

Concord High School has committed to helping the 2015 Resolution Pledge move forward. Principal Gene Connolly explains, “High school is a critical time for young people who are making decisions for themselves, maybe for the first time. Parents may find it difficult to judge when to give their children independence and when to step in and give guidance. They need to understand that talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol has to be a high priority.  Keeping the channels of communication open is not easy but it’s the best way to be sure kids are making decisions they support.”

PDFNH and its ongoing initiatives are funded through a grant by the NH Charitable Foundation.  More information on the campaign can be found at

About The Partnership for a Drug Free NH
The Partnership for a Drug Free NH (PDFNH) is an independent nonprofit that coordinates media efforts to empower New Hampshire citizens to make healthy choices, and to increase awareness about substance issues in our state. The mission of the PDFNH is to develop and communicate consistent statewide messaging about the prevention of, treatment for and recovery from alcohol and drug misuse and abuse.  This is done through collaboration with state agencies, organizations, and others concerned with the alcohol and drug issues in the state of New Hampshire.

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