Learn how to talk to your teen about substance abuse

    Real Talk workshops in Ashland help teens, parents talk about substance abuse.

    Ashland High School is offering a workshop series about substance abuse for parents and teenagers.

    Ashland School District Communications Director Laurie Rooper said substance abuse is a problem everywhere, and because of the sensitivity of the topic, it's often avoided.

    The series, titled "Real Talk," is presented by Matt Vogel, a local public speaker who focuses on young audiences. According to his website, matt-vogel.com, substance use is one of his favorite topics.

    Rooper said the idea of the series is to open dialogue on topics that are hard to talk about. Communication between parents and their children, especially about drug and alcohol use, is key, she said.

    "Drugs and alcohol are issues that are very hard to talk about between the generations," Rooper said. "With this series we want to open up that communication and get kids talking about what they're experiencing in their world, and get parents hearing ways to identify how they can work together in a way that makes sense for their family."

    The series will explore the current dynamics of substance use and parenting over five workshop sessions:

    1. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20

    Parents and students are encouraged to attend the introduction to the workshop series and participate in a dialogue about drug and alcohol education.

    2. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27

    Parents are encouraged to attend to learn about education, skills, practice, processing, communication, boundaries and how to partner with their teenage children on the subject.

    3. 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6

    Students are encouraged to attend to learn about education, skills, practice, processing, brain and identity development, sleep, stress, emotions, social norms and constructs. This session is followed by a question-and-answer period.

    4. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13

    Parents are encouraged to attend to learn of the successes and challenges using skills and practice. This session is followed by a question-and-answer period.

    5. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20

    Parents and students are encouraged to attend the wrap-up and conclusion session.

    A certified alcohol and drug counselor will be available to answer questions and provide information about substance abuse treatment at the end of each workshop.

    Rooper said although some workshops encourage just parents or students, they’re not exclusive. Anyone should feel free to attend the workshops. She said there’s a suggested donation of $20 per family, which covers the whole series.

    Participants can register at https://donate.ashland.k12.or.us/realtalk/.

    Light refreshments will be provided.

    “We will look at specific substances, health impacts, trends and skill-building that will have positive impacts in our homes and community,” according to the workshop website.

    “This is an issue with high school students around the country,” Rooper said. “We really want to make sure that everybody is educated about what’s going on in our community and what teens and parents can do to make sure they have the best information.”

    Vogel has worked in higher education for 16 years in both teaching and administrative capacities.

    The series is presented by Kolpia, a state-certified outpatient counseling center for substance-use disorders, in partnership with Ashland High School.

    “We believe that the best way to prevent drug use amongst our teens is by educating our parents and students and supporting their healthy communication around this topic,” Rooper said. “In brainstorming how to best provide those tools, this series was born.”

    Rooper said Ashland High School has scheduled several parent meetings this spring around high school and college planning, and the middle school conducts regular parent education nights. For more information, see the Ashland School District website at www.ashland.k12.or.us/.

    Contact Tidings reporter Caitlin Fowlkes at cfowlkes@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4496. Follow her on Twitter @cfowlkes6.

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