Drug abuse can be life-threatening, especially if it progresses to hard drugs like heroin and opioid use, and can be very hard to get away from once a habit is established. Signs of drug abuse in teens include abandoning social activities, excessive mood swings, changing friend groups, and stealing to get money for drugs. If you have discovered that your teen is using drugs, it is important you stop and think before you react. You need a plan to accomplish your objective, which is to do what is best for your child.

Chill out

This may seem like an odd piece of advice, but on first discovering that your teen is using drugs you may be overcome by a rush of emotions including disbelief, disappointment, anger, and doubts about your abilities as a parent. No matter how good at school or responsible your teenager is in your mind, it is still entirely possible that they could be using drugs. A lot of kids do, and not just the ones who “look the part.” Having a knee-jerk reaction to teen drug problems is not going to help anyone, so take a moment to absorb the situation and then resolve to approach it as calmly and purposefully as you can.

Get prepared

If you are co-parenting your child or there is someone else you want to be a part of this, discuss the situation with them first so that you are presenting a united front. Teens are experts at exploiting differences and disagreements between adults to their own advantage, as you probably know all too well. Do some research to learn about the resources at your disposal for dealing with this problem, including school programs and drug treatment centers for teens. Teen rehabs centers provide both inpatient and outpatient programs and will have encountered this problem many times. Though you may not think your teen warrants this level of care, you cannot be sure what they are hiding at this stage. It does not harm to be fully informed of the options.

Clarify rules

Perhaps you have not been explicit with your teen about drug use. Your teen may argue that it’s “no big deal,” or that everyone is doing it these days. Do not indulge them in this line of argument as you do not need to do so. You are the authority in your home. Point out that a lot of people are dying from drugs too and that we are clearly in the middle of a terrible drug epidemic. Any rules you set must be enforced. If you say something, but do not mean it, you are undermining your own authority and not giving your teen the solid framework they need and want, even if they may not show it.

Explain and listen

Here, your research will pay off as you will be equipped to explain and explore the options with your teen. It will also give you and your teen a basis for discussion which can help prevent things from getting too emotional. Try to stay scientific and factual, and appeal to your teen’s sense of reason. Let them see how their drug use jeopardizes other things that they enjoy and want to do with their lives. Do not be afraid to educate them on the full horrors, including a sad, lonely death of today’s most dangerous drugs like fentanyl and illegally manufactured pills. This may be the reality of what they are getting themselves into, so give them the full picture. You also need to listen calmly to your teen to learn what is going on with them. It’s possible their drug use is a result of something else that needs to be addressed, such as depression.

Consider inpatient rehab if necessary

As a parent, you have rights over and responsibilities to your child that don’t apply once they are older. Depending on state law, you may be able to admit your child to an inpatient program for drug abuse even if there are unwilling. If you believe they are a danger to themselves or just refuse to see the problem, drug treatment centers for teens in Minnesota may be the solution. Of course, it’s always best if your teen agrees there is a problem and wants to take action to get back on track.

Nobody likes to think of their teen suffering the terrible consequences that can result from a drug habit, but the worst thing you can do for you and your child is to not face this problem calmly and with a plan for coming through it successfully. By taking the time to research the issue, learn about available resources, and, most importantly, listening to your teen and trying to get them on board, you maximize your chances for a happy outcome.

If you know of a teen who needs help and you would like to talk with an expert facility that deals explicitly with drug abuse in teens, contact the Anthony Louis Center to learn about all the options available.


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