Sep 11, 2019 | By Stephen Reichel

We Teach Sex Ed to Kids, Why Not Addiction Awareness?


Knowing about the dangers of addiction is just as important as talking about the birds and the bees, according to Dr. Rajy Abulhosn, a medical provider at Confirm BioSciences. When nearly 2.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 admit to using alcohol in the past month and 1.9 million adolescents admit to using drugs, school districts should be at the frontlines of combating the addiction crisis. As part of the same courses that teach comprehensive sex ed, he believes schools should be talking about the intersection with drugs and alcohol.

Dr. Raiy is challenging people to consider this argument, why not include this information? Kids are being taught sex ed in school, why would it be more shocking to present real conversations in schools to kids about addiction? The answers may surprise you!

Only 57% of Parents in America tell their kids about drug and alcohol addiction, how it may relate to their families etc. This number must come up, there must be a better way to at least encourage parents to open up about this subject to their kids. As long as this stat stays true, we will never accomplish anything.

Dr. Raiy is an experienced Medical Director with expertise in Corporate Wellness, Travel Medicine/Counseling, and also as a Medical Review Officer. I am very comfortable in non-clinical medical roles, including leadership roles, management/administrative roles, and public speaking. I have a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), with a Medical Degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine. I am board-certified in Family Medicine, and am also a member of the American Association of Medical Review Officers and the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners.

In this episode we cover:

  • Addiction and mental health’s portrayal in the media
    • HBO’s show Euphoria did a great job of not glamorizing drug and alcohol use in Season One.
    • People struggling with mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, are more likely to develop substance use disorder to help deal with the associated symptoms.
    • In the depressive phase, people may turn to alcohol or other substances to help ease depression, sadness, loneliness, and/or associated anxiety.
    • For those in the manic phase, their hyperactivity may lower inhibitions and impair judgment, leading them to use or abuse substances when they normally wouldn’t.
  • There’s a specific scene in Euphoria where the main character cheats on a urine test while she is in “recovery.” If the main character had taken a hair test, it would have shown that she indeed had not stopped using.
  • Opting to perform drug testing on your child or teen can greatly reduce the likelihood of them trying drugs or succumbing to peer pressure.
  • It is important to let them know your reasons and listen to their opinions and concerns, as your child may be hurt or upset by your decision, even if it is made with their best interests in mind.
  • How parents can talk to their kids about substance use
    • Teens who say their parents would strongly disapprove of them trying marijuana are much less likely to use an illicit drug than those who think their parents would not strongly disapprove.
    • A necessary part of preventing drug use in the home lies with drug testing. Sometimes verbalizing a no drug policy isn’t enough.
    • At-home drug testing kits don’t have to be an intimidation method but rather a conversation-starter to ask questions and understand the consequences of drug addiction – in turn helping parents take back control of what is perceived to be an uncontrollable situation.

20 responses to “We Teach Sex Ed to Kids, Why Not Addiction Awareness?

  • Fiona McDonald

    4 years ago

    Our school discussed drugs in the same minimalist way they provided sex education – this isa penis, this is a vagina, this is how a baby develops but no discussion about sexuality, intimacy, consent and cosequences. We were told a list of different drugs then ‘just don’t do them – drugs are bad’ with no discussion of why people take drugs, their experiences, the dangers and where to get help for overuse, misuse and addiction.
    The other point I would make about focusing on the opiod crisis is that particularly in towns and cities where the crisis is the worst and law enforcement are cracking down the hardest, there has been a *significant* resurgence in the use of alternatives such as crack/meth. We can’t just focus our attention on one type of drug without also focusing on the reason eople are taking drugs in the first place because they are just chaging drugs to meet their needs that are less heavily policed

  • Julianne Heinick

    4 years ago

    They do its called L.E.A.D or D.A.R.E. Kids have always had these programs. I just read a speech at my son’s L.E.A.D graduation last year. All about awareness and being drug free.

    • Dare does not work because the curriculum is nothing but lies and kids that age are already smart enough to know they are being lied to. DAREs stated purpose is to reduce the use of illigal drugs. They teach that Marajuana is highly addictive, deadly, and will turn you gay. But Alcohol is legal so they don’t need to talk about that. There will never be a fact based addiction education program, because the curriculum decisions are made by polititians not doctors.

    • Bradley Durham

      4 years ago

      My dare officer is currently in prison for selling oxycodone lol.

  • David Elsbernd

    4 years ago

    I would add that the curriculum should be about addiction in general, not just substance addiction. Many are unaware that for some, neurochemical changes occur with other behaviors such as gambling. The resulting addiction can have devastating results, even without a substance being involved.

  • Jeff McBride

    4 years ago

    On the Sex ed – do you at least wait until kids are out of grade school ??

    • It will be a more natural conversation if you talk about it sooner. And abusers don’t wait until your child is out of grade school.

  • Crystal Ball

    4 years ago

    Addiction is the result of abuse, neglect, trauma, and mental illness. You can’t make a happy person an addict. Also, teach your children about drugs and alcohol (for instance tell them about the ABV of all types of drinks and how many to drink to get tipsy, drink on a full stomach, etc) and stay away from any misinformation (NO- You can’t die of a marijuana overdose!) (Drug dealers do NOT give away drugs!). Drug testing your child is telling your child that you don’t trust them, and that will cause a myriad of trust issues, for life. Also drug testing doesn’t always pick up drugs like synthetic marijuana, a lot of types of ecstasy or MDMA, or even cocaine a lot of the times, they are out of your system within 24 hours! It ONLY picks up marijuana because weed stays in your system for up to 3 weeks. Educate your children and be nice to them and protect them, it’s that simple.

    • Anybody who uses an addictive drug can become an addict. Your first sentence is dangerously ignorant.

      • No. Your sentence is dangerously ignorant.

        The vast majority of people given opioids, even over prolonged periods of time, might develop withdrawal symptoms if they have gotten a physical tolerance, but won’t develop a compulsive need for the substance.

    • Bradley Durham

      4 years ago

      There is a much different scientific view on most of that. Psychology and pharmacology have a different opinion on your first sentence. As does toxicology. Also Many many drugs are detectable for longer than 24 hrs especially in blood work. A UA is somewhat limited on some time frames but cannabis is not the only one that sticks around longer than 24hrs.

  • Joel Hess

    4 years ago

    @Stephen Reichel They did in the 90s. It was called D.A.R.E. We all got the message but everyone chooses to make their own decisions. The real problem is mental health. Poor mental health causes people to do drugs.

    • You are wrong and not informed. Poor mental health is not directly related to drug use and not all addicts have a duel diagnosis because their symptoms go away when they stop using and recover

  • I mean, DO we teach kids sex ed, though? Only 24 states require sex education, and more often than not, it’s VERY limited at best.

  • primitive

    4 years ago

    My son went to a Lutheran grade school’ he had a fifth grade teacher who taught sex ed. OMHO as it should be. All in the class were in the class, both boys and girls. At the time the teacher’s wife was pregnant and the pregnancy was used as a basic part of the class. He covered growing up, maturing sexually, body changes of both sexes, dating, falling in love, marrying, conceiving a child. And—-when his child was born, the birth of a child. The final session was a toy shower attended by the mother and baby.

    Sex education as it should be taught to grade school youngsters, This class just happened to be lucky enough to have a beautiful example of its reality in progress for their class.

  • Janel Herald

    4 years ago

    Why do we continually let parents off the hook from their due diligence to raise their children?
    This is our job to informs as parents ffs. Quit letting people take the easy road!

  • We are at epidemic levels and parents need to protect their young children. So scary what is going on, even in private expensive schools.

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