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Now in its second year, the National Night of Conversation will take place on November 17th.
Created in a joint effort between the Dr. Oz Show and the organizations Facing Addiction and Drugs Over Dinner, the National Night of Conversation (NNOC) is an initiative that aims to promote addiction awareness amongst American families. With an empty white dinner plate serving as its emblem, NNOC both acknowledges and directly addresses the continued stigmas associated with substance use, and the ways in which families can host an open conversation about a topic which has touched the lives of millions.
With over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 struggling with an addiction of some kind, more spouses, children, and loved ones are affected than ever before. This epidemic has worked its way into the homes and lives of countless individuals, and is one that does not discriminate in its significant damage.
Although the drug crisis is widespread, the stigma surrounding it is easily discoverable amongst public opinion. Through the NNOC, organizers hope to tackle this issue head-on.
“We have to stop seeing addiction as a moral failing and see it for what it really is, which is a chronic illness we must treat with compassion and urgency,” said Dr. Viviek Murphy, US Surgeon General.
A topic such as drug addiction can result in difficult discussions, particularly when children are involved. Although, as drug use surfaces earlier and earlier in today’s youth, parents must remain vigilant in providing the proper education for their kids.
The NNOC is a fantastic first step in constructing meaningful conversation about addiction. Available for download online, the Parental Discussion Guide features tips and helpful insight that allows parents to address the most important questions in a tactful and age-appropriate manner with their children.
Passionate about addiction treatment and awareness, Dr. Oz stated in anticipation of last year’s inaugural event that, “By removing the fear and shame surrounding addiction, through an open dialog in families we will save lives. Parents need to educate their children about the overall risks of drugs and drinking, as well as get inside their children’s heads to assess what risks they may be facing already.”
To participate in NNOC, individuals are encouraged to host a family discussion at the dinner table. They can then share photos of an empty dinner plate on social media, using #NightOfConversation. This pledge of support honors those who are struggling with addiction while igniting an educational dialogue with families across the country.
With thousands of social media users sharing photos of their daily meals, the symbolism of the empty white plate used in the NNOC shifts the focus to the importance of the conversation at hand.
Giving children the opportunity to ask questions sets the tone for honest dialogue, as parents are better able to gain insight into their children’s understanding of the epidemic.
Through this exercise of awareness, the NNOC draws attention to discussions that matter, and the learning and hope that we can gain in having them.
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