What to do if you find drugs in your child’s room?
It’s one of every parent’s nightmares. During a routine cleaning of your child’s room you accidentally come across a benign little baggie. Curiosity gets the best of you, and you open it up only to be shocked to find your teen’s stash of drugs. At first, you think your eyes must be playing a trick on you. After all, your child would never do drugs, especially after so many candid discussions about the pitfalls of addiction and the dangers of drugs. Right!?
The truth is that you are not alone, and you if come across your child’s stash of drugs, you can count yourself as one of the lucky parents. At least you know.
The trick is knowing what to do once you find the drugs. Of course, you are angry, and most parents’ FIRST reaction is to get angry and take away all freedoms that their teen has. While experts agree that consequences are necessary and should be immediate when parents realize their child is experimenting. It is also important for parents to keep the lines of communication necessary so they can ascertain the extent of their teens drug use.
Important questions that you need answered.
Is your teen just experimenting, or are they on the road to addiction?
Where did they obtain the drugs?
How long have they been doing drugs?
Why does your child feel the “need” to do drugs?
So what should you do now?
First, sit down and have an open, clear-headed conversation with your child. This is a time to build trust, to encourage your child to open up to you, to find out what is going on in their head and in their life. If you are too accusatory-your teen will think that you just don’t understand and will clam up – only hindering a positive ending.
The next step, regardless of the admitted level of drug use – is to seek some sort of drug and alcohol counseling from a professional experienced in the field.
Additionally, expose them in some manner – to the life that is ahead of them should they continue to use drugs.
Kids all over the country are becoming addicted to multiple different substances from every kind of background imaginable from the poorest of the poor to the very wealthy.
Don’t ever underestimate the role that peer pressure plays in a child’s drug use and do not give in to the guilt trip, because your child will not be helped by a parent who is feeling guilty and thus too immobilized to do anything.
If you suspect drug abuse is taking place, however, it is your responsibility as a parent to try to get help for your child. Drug abuse ruins lives, tears families apart and sometimes kills. It is nothing to be ignored!!!!!
Juliet Stiebeck is the Program Director of Recovery Services, a State-certified addictions recovery program at MHA Rockland.
Contact her at 845-267-2172, x225.
For information on programs offered at MHA Rockland and throughout the County, call our Client/Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, x296.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know just when to seek help with a mental health issue. If you’re sad, is it depression or just a bad day? If you keep going back to check if you locked the door, is it OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or are you just forgetful? Can you go from being happy one minute and then sad the next? Do you have a bipolar disorder or just a mood swing? Knowing when you need help can be confusing.
Depression is a condition that causes sadness for more than two consecutive weeks and disrupts your daily life. If you find it hard to be motivated to get out of bed; if you cry all the time; if you just don’t care about anything, you may be suffering from depression. However, only a doctor can diagnose this illness and get you started on a treatment plan to get you back to enjoying life.
OCD is an illness where you cannot help but repeat a behavior over and over again. A doctor can diagnose and prescribe a treatment program to help manage the disorder. In fact, any time you have a behavior that is consuming your life so you can’t function normally, you should seek the help of a professional in the mental health field.
It is not considered a weakness to suffer from these disorders. And you are not alone. If you are unsure where to start, the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Rockland County can assist in connecting you to the right resource.
At MHA Rockland, we help people living with mental illness and/or addiction to embrace life and redefine themselves. We also welcome and support families, friends, employers, and colleagues who care about those struggling with these issues. Since opening our doors in 1951, we have touched the lives of more than 50,000 Rockland County residents.
Please visit www.mharockland.org/resources/where-can-i-go-for-help/. There are resources available to help you reframe your illness and define yourself not by your challenges, but by your strengths and passions.
Our certified peer recovery advocate is available is anyone with a substance use concern and their families – even if they’re not enrolled in our program.
Through individual and group counseling/education, family members and friends can learn how to respond to a loved one’s substance use in a healthy way while maintaining care of their own wellbeing.
To learn more about Recovery Services, contact:
Nadine A. McKenzie, MFT, CASAC-Advanced Counselor
Director of Recovery Services