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April 29th, 2013

Drug Abuse – Parent Guide – How You Can Help


Create clear and consistent messages.

Don’t overreact and lose your temper, but your teen needs a strong message that drug and alcohol use is not okay. A parent support group like Families Anonymous may prove very useful. Tell your kids what your family’s position is on alcohol or drugs.

Become aware of the drugs that youth use.

Learn about what their effects are and what your kid is likely to look like when under the influence.

Get to know your kid better.

Find out how they see themselves, where they want their life to go, and what’s important to them. Determine what drugs and alcohol do for them. Don’t lecture, be clear, and keep your message short and to the point. Spend positive time with your kid in recreation and family activities.

Find out the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your kid’s friends.

Get to know the kids if possible. Form a network and keep in touch with the parents of their friends. Don’t be put off if other parents don’t share your concern about substance abuse, or too shocked if you find that another parent is using drugs with them or is supplying the kids with drugs and alcohol.

Keep track of where your kid is.

When you allow your kid to go out at night, consider allowing them the privilege of a cell phone that is GPS-enabled and provides a tracking ability so you can monitor their whereabouts. Similar GPS devices are available for cars. There are also several different cell-phone monitoring programs available that can track conversations and location.

If youth behavior is unacceptable, use discipline that is most likely to be effective.

Restrict or eliminate use of a car, restrict texting, take away or heavily monitor cell phone use, and limit unsupervised free time unless your kid is committed to being ‘clean and sober.’ Set clear, firm, and reasonable limits. Be consistent.

Consider searching their room on a regular basis.

A quick review of the contents of your kid’s room will give you insight into their behavior. Check their room at night. Are they there?

Be aware of their internet use.

Consider checking their website “history” and monitor their involvement in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Sleepovers and parties are often a problem.

Check to be sure that the other parent will be home and determine if they have the same curfew, values, and expectations as you do. Kids often select homes of absent or permissive parents for sleepovers and all-night drug/alcohol parties.

Help your kid avoid people or places associated with drug use.

Your kid is not likely to stay sober if they attend unsupervised parties where drugs and alcohol are available. Help them locate sober activities.

Consider having your kid involved in a twelve-step support group.

There are many available like A.A, C.A., or N.A. (young people’s group), or check out a support group offered by the guidance department at your kid’s school.

Rid your house of substances.

If other family members have a drinking problem, abuse medication, or use illegal drugs, these issues must be dealt with as well as your kid’s use. Get rid of all of the alcohol in your house and remove any mind-altering drugs from the medicine cabinet.

Determine how they pay for their drugs.

If it’s from your ATM card, wallet, or pocketbook – keep them out of reach. Consider the amount of money that you provide for allowance, lunches, movies, etc. You may be financing their habit! Find out if your kid is selling drugs while using.

Do drug testing in your home.

Buying several dozen tests online will send your kid a message that you are very committed to their sobriety. Drug testing also gives your kid the ability to say “NO” even when you are not present and allows you to see the full scope of the problem facing your family.

Look into healthcare professionals.

If you decide to work with a professional or program for counseling, be sure to check their credentials and experience. Most counselors and psychologists are generalists who do not have specific expertise in substance abuse and they may make the problem worse by addressing the wrong issues.


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Navigating the adolescent years is one of the largest and toughest responsibilities we will face as parents. It is scary to see someone that you care about engage in harmful choices. We are here to help you to prevent your child from making damaging life choices.

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