Finding drugs at home is a scary reality to face, but there are steps you can take to approach the situation with the most patience, ease and composure.
Before jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst, take a calm few days to educate yourself on the substance you found in your house. It takes a lot to admit that someone you love might have an addiction problem, especially your child, but the reality is possible and it is an option you must allow yourself to confront. As you accept the possibility of addiction, research the signs and symptoms and how to best approach the situation.
Talk to your network
Talk to your partner, your friends or fellow parents to find out if anyone else has found drugs, suspected drugs or knows how to approach a drug abuse situation. You will be surprised at how common teenage drug abuse it is – take advantage of other parents that have gone through this dilemma and heed to their advice.
That said, be wary of varying opinions that others will have about what to do if your teenager is using drugs. Listen to all advice, but remember that every instance of abuse is different and that what worked for one child will not necessarily work for your child.
Whether or not the parents of your child’s social circle are ready to hear that you found drugs, it is important for the safety and growth of their teen that they are aware of drugs being in circulation. Fellow parents can take a proactive approach to investigate the drug situation as well.
Talk to your teen
It is so important to approach your teenager with an open conversation and not an accusation. The only evidence you have is the drug you found, so it would not be fair to jump to conclusions. This will only lead to you being in distress and your teen losing trust in your relationship.
How to talk to your teenager about drugs and alcohol?
Prepare yourself for the conversation
Run research on the specific drug you found so you can explain how detrimental abuse of the drug can be to their development.
Allow for an open conversation
Once you confront your teenager about the drugs you found, allow them to explain. Engage in an open conversation where your teen knows that anything they say is safe. This can help you get context on where they got the drugs, why they got the drugs and whether or not there is a big problem at hand.
Establish rules and expectations
Once your teen knows you know about their substance use or abuse, it is necessary to establish rules around drugs. If no rules are established, the risk for future substance abuse is too high and not worth taking. Set zero-tolerance boundaries and establish consequences for breaking rules. If rules are broken, you must enforce the consequence in order to train your teen’s behavior away from drug use.
Investigate mental, emotional and physical health
If your teen is reaching for drugs, they might be trying to suppress an existing pain. Talk with your teen to understand social, emotional and physical experiences they are having. Counseling or other therapies can help relieve these symptoms and avoid the need for drugs.
In some cases, a drug rehabilitation program will be the solution for your teen.
To learn more about what to do when you find out your child is using drugs, reach out to our drug and alcohol abuse experts at United Recovery Project. Browse our recovery resources and programs if you think your teen can benefit from an integrative, intensive rehabilitation program.