YAKIMA, WA - Fentanyl is a fast-growing concern in our community. The drug can easily be disguised in other medications and become deadly with just a small amount.

Kids are 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents talk with them about the risks, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

"It's really scary to be a parent right now," said an expecting mother of two, Emily Nelson, "we need to do something for our kids."

Nelson is also the student support director with Educational Service District 105 and a lead in their fentanyl prevention team.

Nelson said many parents don't want to give their kids any ideas by talking about drugs, but that's not reality. 

"The reality of the world that our kids live in now, they often times know a lot more about things than we think they do," said Nelson.

That's why Nelson said she suggests parents start the conversation by asking what their kid already knows and redirecting them from there.

Parents need to verbalize their expectations and explain the dangers of these drugs without scaring them said, Nelson. (Online resource)

"Fear doesn't change behavior in the long term," said Nelson, "to see an end to these problems, we have to come at it with a place of solutions and support."

ESD 105 gives lesson plans to elementary, middle, and high school teachers in 25 public school districts and more than 20 tribal and private school districts in our area.

Those lesson plans steer away from fear and focus on what's called 'social norming,' which is a new way of providing positive messages said, Nelson. 

"Saying 'hey 1 in 4 kids use drugs, you shouldn't,' we say '3 out of 4 students in this school choose not to use substances,'" said Nelson, "we have found that has much more direct impact."

Parenting is hard and it's ok to not have all the answers said, Nelson. That's why ESD 105 offers parent support groups every Monday night. If interested email is emily.nelson@esd105.org