Keeping your teen off drugs takes a proactive approach. You need to talk to them early on about the dangers of substance abuse. You should also learn about the drugs circulating among your teen’s peers and be able to spot signs your own child may be using.
Do you have a teenager who’s already abusing drugs? If their habit is entrenched—especially if it’s accompanied by problems like depression or anger management issues— you may want to consider sending them to a residential treatment center for troubled teens. There, they can get the therapeutic and academic support they need to get their life back on track.
Learn About Teen Drug Trends
If you want to talk to your teen about drugs and detect if they’re using, you need to educate yourself on the latest trends. For instance, heroin use is on the rise among young people, as is the use of synthetic drugs. Besides poring through the Internet, ask your teen about drug use among their peers. You might be surprised at how willing they are to open up. Here are a few salient facts about current drug trends.
Marijuana Has Evolved
Pot has become increasingly potent in recent years, especially if used in the form of oil, wax or edibles. Many teens have found themselves in the emergency room experiencing acute panic and paranoia. It’s also become easier to secretly use marijuana, with teens sneaking puffs of marijuana from a discreet and smokeless vape pen.
Prescription Drug Abuse Has Escalated
Whether it’s opiate pain medication, anxiety meds or ADHD drugs, many teens have succumbed to prescription drug abuse. Young people often steal this medication from a family member. If your teen is abusing prescription meds, seek help immediately. They are at risk of developing drug dependency and may also be self-medicating to deal with an undetected mental health issue. Teens who abuse prescription meds are also in danger of a potentially fatal drug overdose due to:
- A suicide attempt
- Combining a prescription drug with another drug or alcohol
- Taking too much
Know the Signs of Teen Drug Use
Look closer if your teenager develops major behavioral changes such as:
- A major drop in grades.
- Lost interests in longstanding activities.
- Significant weight changes.
- Started hanging out with a wild new crowd.
- Drug paraphernalia like pipes, vape pens and rolling papers.
Talk To Your Teen About The Dangers Of Drug Use
Talk to your child about the dangers of substance abuse, making it clear you consider teen drug use unacceptable. You might role-play, helping your child develop tactics for diplomatically but decisively refusing drugs. Don’t forget to arm them with potentially life-saving safety tips.Let them know you’ll pick them up, no questions asked, if they or their designated driver ever becomes impaired. If you’re not sure where to start, there’s lots of information online about talking to your child about drugs and alcohol.
Share The Consequences Of Drug Abuse With Your Teen
Teens are pretty literal and often have a built-in sense of immortality, so real-life examples of the ravages of drug abuse may help drive the point home. If you come across a news item that serves as a cautionary tale, share it with your child. It can be instructive and sobering to learn about circumstances like a teen who’s overdosed on opiates, a girl who was assaulted while passed out, or a star athlete whose cocaine use took him from being a top-pick college athlete to serving a jail sentence for armed robbery.
You can also find before-and-after photos on the internet illustrating the damage caused by meth use. Few people fail to be moved by images of healthy young people rendered unrecognizable: bone-thin, unkempt, aged beyond their years, with teeth missing and faces riddled by lesions and skin eruptions. Given the dangers, this sobering show-and-tell is not a scare tactic but rather a care tactic.
It takes a lot to keep our teens off drugs, but the pay-off is a healthy kid who’s willing to communicate with you. If your teen has a drug problem that’s putting their future at risk and causing chaos in your home, consider sending them to a residential treatment center for troubled teens. They’ll receive in-depth therapy in a safe environment, learning new ways to direct their energy so they can move toward a promising future.