Jessica Lahey on Preventing Substance Abuse in Kids

How do we equip kids with the tools they need to avoid substance abuse? How can we identify a teen who is at risk? And what can be done to prevent our young ones from developing dependency issues?

Every parent is haunted by these questions, myself included. To get answers, I did what you do when you host a podcast—I turn to the experts. 

Meet Jessica Lahey.

Returning for her second appearance on the show, Jess is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a J.D. concentrating on juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina. She’s an English and writing teacher, a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, and writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. 

Best known as the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure—a non-negotiable must read for every parent and the focus of our first podcast (RRP #282)—Jess also co-hosts the popular #AmWriting podcast alongside fellow podcast alum KJ Dell’Antonia (RRP #396). 

But the primary focus of today’s discussion is her hot off the press second book, The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence.

This is a conversation about how to have those difficult conversations with your kids about alcoholism and drug addiction.

It’s about how to effectively guide our young ones through the perils of substance exploration, dependency, and abuse.

And most of all, it’s about arming parents with invaluable, evidence-based strategies and practical tools helpful in raising, supporting, and educating resilient, addiction-resistant children.

To read more click here. You can also watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

As someone who has done battle with the demons of alcoholism, and as a dad of four delicately parenting two teens, this terrain isn’t just a useful lens on developmental psychology, it’s of particular personal pertinence.

Whether or not you’re a parent, chances are there’s at least one young person in your life currently in jeopardy for substance dependence. It’s thus incumbent upon all of us to better understand the nature of that risk—and how to effectively guide the young ones among us towards safe harbor.

May this conversation serve that purpose—because Jess understands the delicate nature of this dynamic better than anyone I know.

Peace + Plants,

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