Oct 6, 2009

Using drugs is a serious problem and using drugs is not the same as being addicted to drugs. In most cases addiction happens over time and after regular use. Some teens may get addicted faster than others Using any illegal drugs (sometimes called 'designer' drugs) is risky and should be avoided. There is no way of knowing what they actually contain. They may have very dangerous chemicals that can cause damage to the brain or even death and this can happen at first use and before addiction starts.
Don't react immediately! Give yourself time to calm down if you are upset, and to think through what is happening. Strong reactions due to fear are common but they don't help. Don't ridicule or lecture. Getting angry can close the door on communication and may harm your relationship with your teenager.
Don't regard this situation as a family disgrace. Recovery is possible just as it is with other illnesses.
Try to get a picture of what is happening in your child's life. Give your teenager a chance to tell you what happened, for example, 'We'd like you to give us an idea what was going on in your life.'
Find out what kinds of drugs are being used and how they are being used. The best way to find out is to ask your teenager. Discuss with him what he considers to be the benefits and consequences of using drugs. Is he clearly aware of what is likely to happen if he uses drugs, such as the effect on his family relationships, education, and future chances of getting work?
If your teenager is apprehended give him moral support but let him see that it is his responsibility. Let him deal with the consequences of his behavior, including picking up the bill, making arrangements, keeping appointments etc.
Separate the behavior from the person. You may not approve of what your teenager is doing but you still need to show your love and care.
It is important to tell your teenager that you are concerned about his wellbeing and that you will be seeking substance abuse treatment for him.
During recovery, encourage teens to engage in after-school activities with adult supervision. If they cannot participate in sports or other extracurricular school activities, part-time employment or volunteer work can build self-esteem.
Don't expect an immediate, 100-percent recovery. Like any illness, there is a period of convalescence with a brain disorder. There may be relapses and times of tension and resentment among family members.
Do offer love, support, and understanding during treatment and recovery.
Your teenager probably knows, but remind him what your values are and what you will allow in your house. This can be a tricky issue and will depend on how old your teenager is.
With older teenagers you may have to come to terms with the fact that they are making their own life choices. However, if they won't give up the drug you still have the right to say that they are not to use it at home.
Some parents tell their teenagers to give it up or they will have to leave home. If you say this, you need to be sure that it is what you really want and that you mean what you say. By saying this you may be pushing your teenager into a more risky situation.


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