COSHOCTON — Coshocton County Drug Free Coalition is launching a media campaign in 2019 to encourage parents or other adults who are influential in the lives of youth to talk with them about the issue of prescription drug misuse.

"They don’t need perfect. They need a parent. Start talking." is the campaign title, and the campaign is centered around encouraging adults to take the time to talk with youth about prescription drug misuse and to share their heart with them, letting them know it is incredibly risky to take prescription medication that is not prescribed to you. "They don’t need perfect" is a reminder that the conversation doesn’t need to be the perfect; you just need to start the conversation and be willing to listen. Throughout the campaign we will be giving tips on conversation starters that can be used by "parents" to engage youth, and other helpful information related to youth and prescription drug misuse.

The coalition decided on this media campaign after conducting a county wide needs assessment and looking at data provided by the OHYES! School Surveys that youth in grades 7 through 12 have completed. The OHYES! School survey told us that only about 50% of the youth reported having talked with their parent in the past 12 months about alcohol, tobacco or drugs. We heard from parents and youth during our listening sessions that it is not a conversation that either felt comfortable with having. Parents reported feeling less than confident that they could effectively talk to their youth about this issue. The youth reported that many of their conversations with their parent have simply been "don’t do drugs". The youth stated that they wanted to be able to have a more open conversation with their parents, without their parents "freaking out".

The coalition also knows that the earlier and more often you make these types of conversations part of your daily life the easier it is as youth get older to have open discussions. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, teens who report that they learn a lot about the risk of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to misuse prescription drugs, yet fewer than one-third of teens say they "learn a lot about the risks of drugs" from their parents.

For more information, visit drugfreecoshocton.com or find us on Facebook @CoshoctonDrugFreeCoalition or you can contact Leane Rohr, the coalition coordinator, at 740-295-7311 or leanerohr@coshoctoncounty.net.