Robert G. Goldsmith, the father of University of Virginia student Mary “Shelley” Goldsmith, was brave to say that if his daughter’s death “can open someone’s eyes, then we need to talk about it”  [“ Clubgoer might have taken drug tied to Boston, N.Y. deaths ,” front page, Sept. 6]. His decision to disclose that his 19-year-old daughter apparently took the drug “Molly” before her death should empower parents, young adults and others to talk about the risks of this dangerous synthetic drug and others on the market.

We need to begin these conversations by emphasizing that it is impossible to know whether a drug purchased on the street is safe, even if it was purchased from a friend. As parents, we need to encourage our children to have fun in safe and healthy ways. Finally, we need to remind them of how much we love them and the incredible pain we would feel forever if anything bad happened to them.

Research tells us that students are about half as likely to use drugs if their parents routinely have these conversations with them as teens and young adults. Mr. Goldsmith has given us an opening to start this conversation. Let’s use it.

Diane Eckert, Oakton

The writer is executive director of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County.