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With a rise in methamphetamine use in Winnipeg, the police have teamed up with local agencies to proactively attack the illicit drug trade. 

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) released education pamphlets along with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) to proactively fight the drug trade. Kate Evans is a public educator with the AFM and says it's important to educate parents on talking to their kids.

"It's important that parents are feeling comfortable about an open conversation and really listening," Evans said. "Negative messaging isn't going to open the door."

Evans says parents should instead start out positively. She understands that it's a difficult time for parents, but talking to your child about drugs properly could have a big impact.

Evans listed a number of do's and don'ts for parents when talking to their kids. 

DoDon't
Give age-appropriate and factual information Use scare tactics
Discuss how they can respond in situations
where they are feeling pressured to use
Tell them to "just say no" and leave it at that
Allow them to practice critical thinking and come
up with reasons they want to be drug-free
Lecture about all the reasons why you want
them to be drug-free
If you drink, model responsible use and explain
how alcohol use for an adult is different than
for a child
Tell them that alcohol is "bad for you" if you
drink in moderation
Have ongoing, two-way conversations about alcohol
and drugs
Have a one-time lecture and never bring it up
again
Be positive and focus on the good things about
being drug-free

Only focus on the negatives of drug use

"Whether that's exercise, or going clubs, or music, or art, or sports," Evans said about exploring other, drug-free options. "Helping a young person explore alternatives is a pretty safe conversation to have after first listening to them."

For Evans and AFM, these conversation pieces apply to all drugs, including illegal, legal, alcohol or smoking.

"A drug is a drug is a drug," she said. "It doesn't matter which substance a young person might be experimenting with or having problems with, we're going to treat it the same way."

Evans says that is because kids aren't always thinking about consequences. Most young people aren't set up to exercise judgement on a level that many adults can. 

"They are inclined to be risk-takers," she said.

There is information available through AFM as well as the Winnipeg Police Service, which is free and can help start that type of conversation with your youth.

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