Substance use difficult to talk about

Two workshops aim to help parents talk to their children about substance use.

Barbara Roden

The Journal

Two free workshops taking place in Ashcroft this week are open to parents who want to learn more about communicating with their children about substance use and abuse.

The workshops are being presented by the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMSHU) Collaborative and School District No. 74, and both will feature Dan Reist. For many years Reist has worked to help develop the province’s multi-systems approach to substance use, and has tried to bridge the divides and barriers that can undermine effective responses around the issue.

The first workshop, which takes place from 7:00 to 8:30pm on Thurs. Feb. 18, is aimed at helping parents understand how to have natural conversations with their children around substance use. “We need to make it so that people can ask questions, and keep the lines of communication open for the future,” says Deanna Horsting, Team Lead for the CYMSHU Local Action Team. “Parents can learn how to have that conversation and make it sound natural, not awkward, or like a lecture.”

The second workshop takes place from 9:00am to 3:00pm on Fri. Feb. 19, in conjunction with an SD74 Non-Instructional Day. “It’s geared more toward professionals, but parents are welcome,” says Horsting, noting that participants will learn what the school approach is and how the subject can be integrated into classrooms. “Parents can be on board about how schools are supporting healthy choices and having conversations about drug use.”

She adds that parents who have children of all ages, not just teenagers, will benefit. “It’s good to start this conversation early, because you never know when you’re going to need this information.”

Both workshops take place at Desert Sands Community School. Dinner and childcare will be provided on Thursday evening, and lunch will be provided on Friday. For more information, contact Horsting at