This article from The Daily Beast talks about Chiara de Blasio and Zac Efron, two young people who’ve recently gone public with their struggles with addiction. They’re not alone.

Studies show that most addicts, nationwide, first use their drug of choice in middle school. The seeds of addiction can be set very early. That’s why it’s important to talk early and often about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. We know that talking with kids helps them make good choices.

Here are some good ways to start.

Nov 052013

The top cause of preventable death in the United States is tobacco use. Whether it’s cancer, heart disease or lung disorders, tobacco takes its toll in health — and a serious hit in your pocket.

This calculator will show you how much you can save by quitting.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit TryToStopNH for the state’s free, confidential quitline. Using a quitline can more than double your chances of quitting for good, and you may be eligible for free or discounted tobacco cessation products if they’re not already covered by insurance.

Some people have advocated e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking but there’s no proof that they are more effective than any other quit method — and they’re definitely more expensive than most.

Secondhand smoke is another significant cause of lung disease. Take smoking outside if you haven’t quit, and don’t smoke in your car.

Remember to talk with your kids about the dangers of smoking, secondhand smoke, and chewing tobacco. In Sullivan County, when parents send a strong message, teens are 75% less likely to start smoking. Talk early – much use starts in middle school!

Alcohol kills 4 times more young people than all illegal drugs combined. A study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol found that underage drinking leads to almost 3,200 deaths and 2.6 million other harmful events, from serious injury to high-risk sex among youth, every year.

Underage drinking parties harm teens, even if you take away the keys. Hosting an underage drinking party is illegal. If you are found hosting a party where you knew teens were drinking illegally or using other drugs:

  • You may be charged with a misdemeanor
  • You could be fined up to $2,000
  • You could spend up to a year in jail

You could also be held liable for any accidents or other problems that happen at the party.

Minors who are caught with alcohol could lose their driver’s license, college scholarships or car. They may be fined up to $600 just for drinking at a party.

Don’t host parties with alcohol and stand up to others who provide alcohol to minors. Don’t let other people make decisions for your children. Call 211 to report an underage drinking party confidentially. Together, we can keep our community safe.

You can help end sexual assault

The Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco

Dr. Bill Kohn clarifies the facts about smokeless tobacco.

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