Back to School: Tips for Parents During an Opioid Epidemic

School has been back for a couple of months now, and Jim Holsomback, the Director of Clinical Outreach for Paradigm Treatment Adolescent Treatment and Program Director of Triad Adolescent Group Therapy Services, co-wrote an article for Sober World Magazine with Dr. Louise Stanger, a speaker, educator, clinician, and interventionist. The article, titled Back to School – Tips for Parents During an Opioid Epidemic, discusses how parents can keep their teens safe and sober as they go back to school during an opioid epidemic. Here are the basics.




When getting your teen back into a rhythm or routine, it’s important to focus on the basic building blocks of success; these will keep your teen healthy and, ideally, away from opioids and other substances. They can be remembered with the acronym RESET. The acronym stands for:


Recovery: Has your teen been using substances over the summer? Have you had him or her in a program to address substance use or abuse? Recovery can take a backseat once school starts because there are new stressors and a new routine. Now that the novelty of the school year has begun to wear off, keep a good eye on what your teen is doing and how he or she is coping with the additional demands on his or her time and attention.


Eating: Many teens slip into less-than-healthy eating routines during the summer. Now that school is in session, they should be back to three meals per day plus snacks. Is that working out? Do you need to change your routine or your teen’s routine to be sure that they’re eating healthy foods at appropriate intervals?


Sleeping: Did your teen stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then crash until noon during the summer? This type of pattern is common, but by now they should be back to a normal schedule of going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up in time for school. In addition to boosting their grades, getting enough sleep can stave off anxiety, depression, and other issues that can make substance abuse more likely.


Exercise: Exercise is another activity that produces not only healthy bodies but also improved mental health. With the sun setting earlier now that it’s October, there’s less daylight and that can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in some teens. Getting your teen into the habit of daily exercise now can help reduce the chances that they’ll have to deal with this temporary form of depression.


Telephone: How much time does your teen spend with his or her phone? Chances are, it’s a lot! Although it might have been fine for them to while away hours and hours each day looking at devices, now that school is in session, this is no longer the case. Make a plan to help reign in digital overload.

The Big Five


In addition, the article discusses how parents can talk to their kids about the “big five” uncomfortable topics:

  1. Substance use
  2. Suicide
  3. Sex
  4. Bullying
  5. Friends


You won’t want to miss that, as more communication between parents and teens can reduce drug use and make it more likely that your teen will want to confide in you. Head over to Sober World online and check out this article and others that will help you keep your teens safe and sober during the opioid epidemic and at all points of the year.