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Military Families Targeted by New Prevention Campaign

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A trio of organizations is sponsoring a new campaign intended to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse among the children of military families, the Associated Press reported Sept. 30.

The Time to Talk online educational campaign hopes to encourage military parents and children to talk about substance abuse; the initiative includes scripts and other guidance for initiating a conversation. Experts say that military kids are more likely to experiment with drugs during transition periods, such as when their parents are deployed to combat areas. Children of servicemembers also may have more access to prescription drugs, such as the powerful painkillers and psychiatric medications sometimes prescribed to returning veterans.

The campaign is sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA), the National Military Family Association, and the National Association of School Nurses. “When these families are moving their adolescent kids, they're introducing another transition, another point of time where those kids can fall into drug and alcohol abuse,” said Steve Pasierb, president of PDFA. “That's what we're hearing from military families, that their kids are under a lot of pressure.”

“Being in the military is about being strong and some people think it's weak to cry. They think it's weak to talk about what's bothering you. They think you have to be strong and push through it and it doesn't work,” said Robyn Lutzkanin, 16, whose father has been to Iraq twice and was recently transferred to a new base stateside. “It doesn't solve the problem if you don't communicate.”

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