What should I do if I find out that my child is using drugs or alcohol?
What should I do if I find out that my child is using drugs or alcohol? How should drug use or abuse be handled?
If your child starts to use drugs you can of course forbid that or punish him, but the question is whether that helps. The child or loved one will likely continue the use of the drug or drugs in secret and you may be even worse off. The use may happen completely beyond your perception and a conversation about drugs becomes almost impossible. The facts is, that no parent who is well informed on teen drug abuse facts and statistics is going to sit still and allow their child to use mind altering drugs, you must calmly take pro-active steps to handle this potentially dangerous situation. Simply put, the alternative is too risky.
Consider these facts:
Men and women who smoke Marijuana before age 17 are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide.
Among the 277 pairs who were discordant for Marijuana dependence (that is, one twin but not the other met the criteria for a diagnosis of Marijuana dependence), the dependent twins were 2.9 times as likely as their nondependent co-twins to think about suicide without attempting it, and 2.5 times as likely to make a suicide attempt.
Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. For example, the risk of using Cocaine is much greater for those who have tried Marijuana than for those who have never tried it. Using Marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other more powerful drugs. So there is more of a risk that a Marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more drugs.
The latest treatment data indicate that in 2006 Marijuana was the most common illicit drug of abuse and was responsible for about 16 percent (289,988) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States. Marijuana admissions were primarily male (73.8 percent), White (51.5 percent), and young (36.1 percent were in the 15.19 age range). Those in treatment for primary Marijuana abuse had begun use at an early age: 56.2 percent had abused it by age 14 and 92.5 percent had abused it by age 18.
90% of Cocaine users smoked, drank, or used Marijuana before trying cocaine.
There have been over 7,000 published scientific and medical studies documenting the damage that Marijuana poses. Not one study has shown Marijuana to be safe.
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that 4 days of exposure to Ecstasy caused damage that persisted 6 to 7 years later.
Psychological difficulties due to Ecstasy include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia - during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA.
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Over 80% of Heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone.
Even small amounts of Meth can produce serious negative effects on your body such as hypothermia and convulsions, which sometimes result in death to the user.
Acute lead poisoning is a potential risk for Methamphetamine abusers.
Research shows that the earlier a child starts using drugs, the more likely he or she will be to develop a substance abuse problem. Conversely, if a child does not start using drugs in the teen years, he or she is much less likely to initiate or develop a substance abuse problem later in life, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Student drug testing can impede drug use initiation and can help identify drug users at an early stage before drug dependency or addiction occurs.
Students who use drugs are statistically more likely than nonusers to drop out of school, and be involved in physical attacks, property destruction, stealing, and cutting classes (SAMHSA, 2004). Drug abuse not only interferes with a student's ability to learn, it also disrupts the orderly environment necessary for all students to succeed. Student drug testing can help reduce the occurrence of these disruptive behaviors, which benefits everyone in the school and community.
The bottom line is due to the risks associated with drug and Alcohol use a parent should always take the position that it is not ok for their child to use drugs in any situation.
Actions to take if your child is using drugs:
Talk to your child about the facts and statistics mentioned above and that you will not risk him/her becoming a statistic, because you love and care them to much to sit and watch that happen. Drugs are just not worth the risk.
Draw up a contract in which your child agrees to discontinue his/her drug use and will do a random drug test without notice at any time. Testing should be done at least once a week. There are formulas that you can buy on the Internet to beat a urine test. So if you still see drug behavior yet the urine test comes up clean you may have to resort to a different testing method.
The second factor of the agreement is that, if A drug test comes up dirty he/her with your help will seek and participate in some form of treatment. Hopefully this option is not needed, but if it does become necessary call toll free 1-855-DRUG-REHAB (1-855-378-4734) and you will be helped to find the correct treatment option for your specific situation.
Here are the most common drug testing methods:
You can find simple urine test kits at most large pharmacies. Note, urine testing cannot detect Alcohol use. Breathalyzers can be bought online for about two hundred dollars. This device is used to detect Alcohol use.
Analysis of hair may provide a much longer “testing window” for the presence of drugs and drug metabolites, giving a more complete drug-use history that goes back as far as 90 days. Like urine testing, hair testing does not provide evidence of current impairment, only past use of a specific drug. Hair testing cannot be used to detect alcohol.
Results of a urine test show the presence or absence of specific drugs or drug metabolites in the urine.Metabolites are drug residues that remain in the system for some time after the effects of the drug have worn off. A positive urine test does not necessarily mean the subject was under the influence of drugs at the time of the test. Rather, it detects and measures use of a particular drug within the previous few days.
Traces of drugs, drug metabolites, and Alcohol can be detected in oral fluids, the generic term for saliva and other material collected from the mouth. Oral fluids are easy to collect—a swab of the inner cheek is the most common way. They are harder to adulterate or substitute, and collection is less invasive than with urine or hair testing. Because drugs and drug metabolites do not remain in oral fluids as long as they do in urine, this method shows more promise in determining current use and impairment.
Unlike urine tests, breath-alcohol tests do detect and measure current Alcohol levels. The subject blows into a breath-alcohol test device, and the results are given as a number, known as the Blood Alcohol Concentration, which shows the level of Alcohol in the blood at the time the test was taken. Breathalyzers can be bought online for about two hundred dollars.
Another type of drug test consists of a skin patch that measures drugs and drug metabolites in perspiration. The patch, which looks like a large adhesive bandage, is applied to the skin and worn for some length of time. A gas-permeable membrane on the patch protects the tested area from dirt and other contaminants. The sweat patch is sometimes used in the criminal justice system to monitor drug use by parolees and probationers, but so far it has not been widely used in workplaces or schools.
If you are currently dealing with a drug use issue with a loved one or child, it is important that you stay calm and level headed. You must also be firm in your commitment. You must gain the confidence and trust of your child or loved love by setting down the rules of the game and you MUST follow through on consequences when necessary.
When the situation is corrected and your child is doing well and maintaining clean drug test for a reasonable duration, proceed to eliminate the above measures and restore trust in your child by allowing your child to be back in control of his or her life regarding the subject of drugs and Alcohol abstinence. Keep a watchful eye on signs and symptoms of how life is going for your child always.
I you need help for a child or loved one with a drug or Alcohol problem call toll free 1-855-DRUG-REHAB (1-855-378-4734).