Child is Doing Drugs

TRUST

Parent’s who suspect their child is doing drugs or alcohol has a legitimate concern and should not hesitate to talk to their child about it. There are, however, a few key points to consider when you decide to do this. Child is Doing DrugsHow is your relationship with your child? Do they feel they can trust you? Can you trust them? Do they feel they can confide in you? If the answers to these questions are negative or sketchy, you may need to take a preliminary step.

If you feel you can repair the relationship in short order, by all means, do so. On the other hand, your relationship may be in need of some extensive repair, or perhaps you really don’t know how to do it. In light of the possible direness of the situation, you may wish to enlist a “mediator” while you concurrently work on building a communication bridge between you and your child. The mediator could be a trusted friend or relation – possibly the child’s other parent (whether you are married or not), a friend of the child’s whom you know is drug-free, or the child’s favorite teacher. While it may be difficult for a parent to own up to the fact that their child may be more comfortable talking to someone else, the fact remains that you want the child to be honest about the situation if the child is doing drugs.

ASK

Once you have established who will be having the conversation – you and/or a mediator – the best initial approach is to simply ask. A simple and direct, “Having been drinking or using drugs?” may be all that is needed. Resist the urge to be confrontational. If the child says “no” and you suspect he or she is lying, you may want to use the “I won’t get mad if you don’t lie” technique. If you use this one, you’ll have to keep your word and not get mad! This is where the trust issue – as covered above – comes into play. You may have concrete evidence that the child is using drugs or alcohol. In this case you would present it.

EDUCATE

If you have established that the child is doing drugs or alcohol, you’ll want to find out what kind and in what quantity. Get educated on what kids are using these days. This information can be found online and materials are available. Knowing what kinds of chemicals are circulating around grade-schools and high schools will help you in discussing the problem. For example:

  • Drugs on the rise among young people today include “synthetic drugs” such as “K2” or “Spice.” According to a report from the federal government, http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts these substances are often sold in retail outlets under such names as “herbal incense,” “plant food” or “bath salts,” and labeled “not for human consumption” in order to conceal their intended purpose and avoid FDA regulations. The buyers of course, know they are purchasing a drug. “Synthetic marijuana” consists of plant material laced with substances that users claim imitates the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana (THC). These substances are then pushed on young people as a “legal” high.
  • Another trend among youth is the abuse of stimulant or psychotropic drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse or Focalin, to help them “focus on school work” or “get better grades.” This is disastrous for young people in that many of these drugs are Class II controlled substances in the same category as cocaine and morphine due to their high potential for addiction. Known side-effects include hallucination, suicidal thoughts, and aggressive or psychotic behavior.
  • A common drug among youth is alcohol. Most youth (and even parents) are not aware that alcohol affects a child or teenager in a very different way than an adult, due to the fact that a young person’s brain is still developing. Alcohol consumption by young people can lead to lifelong damage in brain function, memory problems, and difficulty with motor skills. Add to this the tragic fact that alcohol-related traffic accidents kill more teenagers than all other illicit drugs combined and you have every reason to be concerned.

The above is but a sampling of the information available on the subject of drugs and alcohol. Familiarize yourself with the various drugs, their street names, their composition, how they are taken, and the short-term and long-term effects. A useful site is that of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) http://www.drugabuse.gov/.

REASONS

In your conversation on drugs and alcohol use, you’ll want to get the reasons your child or teenager is using. There can be more than one. A few examples of these factors:

  • Peer pressure
  • Easy access to drugs, drug dealers in or around school or home
  • Social media, movies, television, advertising and music videos that promote alcohol and drugs
  • Personal or familial problems
  • Boredom
  • Easy access to money for drugs
  • Desire to be cool and fit in
  • Parties and sex associated with drugs and alcohol
  • Alienation or feeling detached from “conventional” society
  • Experimentation
Having The Talk – My Child is Doing Drugs?

You will want to combine real communication with education in order to get the honest reasons. Don’t be satisfied Suspect Your Child is Doing Drugs or Alcoholwith perfunctory answers. This is where you must really roll up your proverbial sleeves. The best approach is to act not just as a parent but as a friend. If you can get the child to realize that drugs will not solve their problems, but only make them worse, you will have made a tremendous stride. Drugs are essentially poisons that have physical and psychological effects. Kids are smarter than they are often given credit. They may have gone through great lengths to conceal their drug use. Conversely, when armed with knowledge on drugs, they can make the conscious decision to not use them. “Just say no” can be effective, but you want to back it up with real understanding and wisdom.

Ultimately, your child or teenager is an individual and has to make these decisions independently. You cannot walk beside someone their entire life. Yours and your child’s most potent weapon if your child is doing drugs will be knowledge!

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