My child is using drugs: how should I react and what should I do about it?
If you have just found out or have reason to believe your child is using drugs, the first thing you should do is sit down and take a deep breath.
We know this is a scary time, so know that you are in the right place. Before you intervene, take the time to prepare for an important discussion.
How can you help him and how can you talk about drugs with your teenager?
Young people and teenagers are often introduced to drugs and drug use by friends or people they admire.
During adolescence, the influence of friends is very strong. So in order to “be in the loop”, to “be cool”, they commit acts they would not have committed otherwise.
Their motivations: to relax, to feel in a “cool” atmosphere, to do like their friends, fear of being criticized if they refuse, of being put aside from the group…
Adults sometimes lack information and don’t know what to do to get a child off drugs or how to avoid this trap. This raises many questions.
This article will try to answer them. It also tells you what to look for if you suspect your child is involved with drugs, and what to do if he or she is.
How do I know?
If your child has tasted drugs (forced or seduced), he or she may not dare admit it right away.
There are some things you should be aware of without spying on your child:
First serious signs:
- Change in behaviour
- Eyes, pupils abnormally dilated or constricted – Alarming drop in school performance
- Repeated absences from school or work
- Excessive water consumption at night
- (conjunction of several of these indices)
Of course, heartbreak, puberty, or a disturbance can also cause these different states. It is your responsibility to find out what it is all about.
There are certain signs:
Need for money, selling personal items - Theft
Clear indications already late :
- Sudden neglect of personal hygiene and clothing
- Frequent discomfort (vomiting, stomach aches)
- Excessive perspiration
- Collapse under stress
- Absences (memory lapses, “blanks”), confusion
- Concentration problems
- Sudden irritability and aggressiveness
- May produce unpleasant hallucinations and feelings of fear and panic
Dangers: The use of drugs…
- Weakens personal motivation
- Decreases resistance to common diseases
- Causes growth disorders
- Decreases male sex hormones
- May cause birth defects of the fetus – May cause lung problems
Cannabis creates little physical dependence, but the risk to the user may lie in the increased desire for stronger and stronger drugs.
What should you do if you learn that your child is using drugs?
- Stay calm. There is no need to blame, insult or chase the child away.
- On the contrary: you may be the only person who can help him or her.
- Also, don’t blame yourself for your child’s condition. A young person is responsible for his or her own actions and that is the key to stopping using. To do this, he needs your help and support.
My child uses drugs: What should I do as a parent?
Discovering that your child is using drugs often causes tension and arguments within the couple.
An upset mother may be moved by her child, while in anger the father may threaten to “tighten the screw” and use force to get the child off drugs.
Neither of these solutions is good!
In order to get your child off drugs, you, the parents, need to adopt a common attitude.
You need to know some of the possible reasons why your child is using drugs.
Let your child feel that he or she can talk to you with confidence. Like an adult, he or she feels things, suffers, cravings. It is therefore ideal to establish a climate of trust within the family at an early age.
Listen to what your child is telling you and encourage him to communicate; share his joys and sorrows.
Gently but firmly try to get him to admit his addiction. If he agrees to tell you his problem, so much the better.
But your child may not want to admit that he or she is using drugs, and this discussion may be a little heated. Expect him to:
- Criticize you;
- refuse to talk to you;
- want to leave;
- feel exhausted, groggy (near collapse), muddy;
- Demands that you right the wrongs you’ve done to him.
Should a child who takes drugs be punished?
- There is no need to demand that the young person stop using drugs and no need to get angry at him or her.
- Don’t blame or scold the child. It is more a matter of understanding what brought him or her to this. Overwhelming the young person by forcing them to admit that they are wrong to take drugs will only make the problem worse and turn them against you.
You don’t need to force a teen to stop using drugs. It’s up to us to make him understand. It’s up to him. If he doesn’t, he’ll go back down. Talk to your kid and show him that he’s losing everything: his parents, his family, his future. Show him he’s going through hell and so are you. But don’t get angry. Give him reliable information about drugs. It took realizing I was messing around and destroying my parents for me to decide to stop. »
How can I help my child stop using?
If your child admits to having a drug problem and using drugs, education becomes essential.
- Read with your child simple and true texts that will inform you about drugs and their effects.
- Prevention booklets have helped many families deal with their problem. With luck, this simple phase of informing about the dangers of drugs can make young people realize that they are on the wrong track.
- If he is already addicted, how to help him cope with drugs, it would be a good idea to put him in touch with a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts to help him get clean.
Why are young people attracted to drugs?
You need to know some of the possible reasons why your child is using drugs:
- Solving a problem: lack of self-confidence, failure, disappointment in love, feeling worthless, no future, … (This is especially the case if your child is trapped, or failing in a poor school system).
- Doing what others do, being in the loop, imitating stars and models.
- Brave the prohibitions and morals that seem to oppose the development of the individual and his social group .
- Hoping in vain that by “getting high” everything will get better.
If my child smokes joints, can this lead him to other drugs?
Smoking a joint does not necessarily lead to the use of other substances as we have long imagined and to the use of any drug.
It is true that users of other “hard drugs” have often previously used cannabis, but fortunately not all cannabis smokers become users of other illegal drugs.
Is there a risk of overdose?
There has never been a case of cannabis overdose that has been described that could endanger a person’s life in the way that alcohol or other substances do.
There is no known fatal dose of cannabis. However, depending on the person’s psychological state (sadness, melancholy, suicidal desire) the use of this substance can make it easier to take action.
However, certain substances associated with the manufacture of cannabis can be dangerous, the drug is a scourge in our society, we must talk about it.