Mason County teen featured in drug prevention campaign.

August 16, 2018

Mason County teen featured in drug prevention campaign.

When it comes to parents having the “drug talk” with their children, teens say they want more conversation, not less.

That’s the premise of a new “Just Talk to Me” Public Service Awareness (PSA) campaign, presented by Talksooner.org. The campaign, endorsed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), will begin rolling out over the next two months with the back-to-school season.

Mason County teen, David Kosla, is one of several ninth through 12th graders who are featured in the “Just Talk to Me” PSA campaign spanning seven counties.  The PSAs can be seen on a variety of “screens”. Spot them on social media, TV, newspapers and even debuting on the screens of several community movie nights.

The Lakeshore Regional Entity (LRE), the public behavioral health plan for people with mental illness, developmental disability, and substance use disorders in Allegan, Kent, Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Oceana, and Ottawa counties, conducted focus groups with teens and parents earlier this year to better understand their communication needs and perspectives related to drug prevention.  

It turns out, teens want more conversation with their parents, not less, with candid, ongoing dialogue.  Many of the teens made it clear that just because they reach out to ask parents and other adults a question about a substance, does not mean they are currently or considering using it.

“I want them to be straight forward, because the reality of drugs is that it can really hurt you,” said David.

LRE organizers, who created the “TalkSooner” movement nearly a decade ago, say they hope the “Just Talk to Me” PSAs spark greater parent-teen dialogue, establishing strong communication habits going into the new school year.

“We believe this helps close the communication gap, and can foster prevention, which is the heart of what talksooner.org is all about,” said the LRE’s Stephanie VanDerKooi, substance use disorder director.

For more information about the PSAs or TalkSooner, visit www.talksooner.org

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