Teen Drug Use and a Parent’s Dilemma

Fact:  Illegal drug use by teens  is prevalent and a major concern for all parents.  According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), in a 2005 survey one-half (50%) of all teens have tried an illicit drug by the time they finish high school with 15.5% of youths ages 12 – 17  indicating they were approached by someone selling drugs within the last month. 

 Now, couple the direct concerns associated with drug use and abuse with an additional parent dilemma – how their reactions may affect their relationship with their child.  No parent wants to believe their son or daughter may be experimenting with or using drugs.  Suspicions arise due to:

  •  Significant changes in behavior, grades at school and relationships
  • Choices in friends and peer groups
  • Pieces of evidence, such as if a teen smells like marijuana smoke after going out with his or her friends, or finding pills, powders or residues in their room, car or personal belongings
  • Prescription drugs, money or other valuables missing from the home

Trust is a real factor.  When a parent fears breaking a bond of trust with his or her child because they may be wrong, they subconsciously hold off on addressing the possible drug use issue.  The reality is this – once a person makes an assumption, doesn’t their level of trust and associated behavior change anyway?  How will a mother or father feel if their child is involved in a serious car accident, thrown in jail for possession or theft, or any other life-changing event due to drug impairment or use when they suspected but did nothing about their suspicions?

Keeping an open line of communication and making decisions based on facts is critical to a healthy relationship, as well as reducing the chances of drug use by your teen.  To learn more about how to talk to your teen about drugs and what to do if you suspect drug use, check out these resource websites:

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