November 02, 2009 —

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM) has just ended, and it was such a great experience to reconnect with my fellow Five Moms in person again for our day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. We have all been discussing ways to raise awareness in your community, but what about raising awareness in your home? I recently found this article that discusses how family dinners can prevent teens from engaging in risky behaviors. The study, which was conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, suggests that teens who frequently eat dinner with their families (five times a week) are less likely to turn to alcohol and drugs. I know it’s hard enough to get the entire family in the house at the same time for dinner, especially with teens, so getting them to sit down at the dinner table—without television or cell phones—sounds nearly impossible. But it doesn’t have to be if you start small. Shoot for twice a week first and then gradually make your way to more days each week. Let your family know earlier in the day that you’re making dinner, and tell your teens what time they should be home. Making this a regular routine in your house will just be another small thing you can do to protect your teens from engaging in OTC cough medicine abuse or even illicit drug use. Who would have thought something so simple could prove to be so helpful in keeping our teens from engaging in risky behaviors? So while you have heard a lot about talking to other parents about the dangers of medicine abuse during last month’s efforts, don’t forget about protecting your teens in the home. How have family dinners helped open the door to valuable conversations in your household?  Tell other moms your story on the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/stopmedicineabuse