How You Can Talk About Addiction to Your Teenager on Drugs

teenager on drugs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs the United States more than $740 billion per year. That number takes into account loss of work productivity, health care needs, as well as the cost of crime.

That signifies a huge problem and it’s not only affecting the workforce. Today, there are many teenagers on drugs who get the substances from friends, by stealing from their parents, or by trying to find deals on the street.

When your child begins using drugs, you may feel nervous about how to approach the subject with them. But you need to act quickly before they form an addiction. Read on to learn how to talk about addictions with your child, or your teenager on drugs, and help them understand the dangerous path they are walking down.

Understand Why Your Child Is Taking Drugs

Of course, there is no good reason to take recreational drugs. Finding joy in daily activities is the surest way to lasting happiness. But if your child is going through a stressful time in life, they may turn to substances to cope just like many adults do.

Talk to your child and try to get to the heart of their addiction. Why do they feel like they need to escape from reality? What happened that made them think the real world was no longer enough for them? What are they running from?

If you don’t take the time to understand the full breadth of the problem now, then they can end up on even harder substances in the future.

Talk to Them About the Addiction Potential of Various Drugs

While all drugs are dangerous, the addiction potential varies from drug to drug. Some drugs like marijuana can be used by most people from time to time without them forming an addiction. 

But other drugs like heroin and cocaine have a much higher addiction potential, meaning that your child could become physically addicted to them much more quickly. Talk to your child about the various substances they are using and let them know they are playing with fire.

Let Them Know What Signs to Look for if Friends Need Help

Approaching your child about their drug use will most likely be a very uncomfortable talk for you. But one way to make the situation less stressful is by talking to your child about the signs to look for in their friends to know if they need help.

While your child will not want to admit their own drug use, this gives you an avenue to find out how much they know about the drug world and what kind of substances are going around in their friend group. 

Tell them how to spot telltale signs of addiction as well as the symptoms of an overdose so that they can take steps to get their friends, or themselves, help if things go too far.

Let Them Know Addiction Can Happen to Anyone

If you have ever visited a residential treatment center, then you know that addiction happens to people of all ages, social classes, and incomes. Drugs addictions do not discriminate. 

Your child may feel like they are invincible and can take whatever comes along since their brains are less developed and they have poor decision-making skills. Drive home the point that they are as human as everyone else and that the drugs they get on the street are unknown substances, no matter what someone tells them they are.

Tell Them They Can Always Call You

While you don’t want to enable your child to continue using, you do need to give them the opportunity to reach out to you for help if they need it. Try to get your emotions under control and make smart decisions when it comes to helping your child. 

If they call you in the middle of the night and are intoxicated, go and pick them up and bring them home. But in the morning, you need to have a serious talk with them about what your expectations are for their behavior and how their choices affect others around them.

Tell Them You Won’t Support This Behavior

While it may be hard for many parents, you need to lay down the law with your child and let them know that you won’t support their drug use. If you know that your child is using drugs, don’t send them to school with lunch money or give them any cash. 

Pack them lunch and purchase things for them in advance. Let them know that they won’t get money again until you’re sure you can trust them. Then begin to drug test them so that you can be sure they have stopped using.

While you want to be able to trust your child, drug testing them is the only way to be completely sure that they quit and are continuing to make the right choices. Make it clear they can earn their privileges back and map out the steps it will take to get there to help motivate your child to be successful.

Where to Go for Help With Your Teenager on Drugs

Having a conversation with your teenager on drugs is a great first step to take. But if you don’t respond seriously right from the start, your teenager may think that they can continue with their current behavior.

To ensure your teenager gets the help they need to kick their habit, contact us today

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.