How Worried Should I Be About My Child’s Drug Use?

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So your son or daughter has started vaping, using drugs or drinking. Is this just what kids do? Is it going to lead to other drugs, or become a problem? Don’t leave the answers to chance.

How Worried Do I Need to Be?

Ninety percent of addictions start during the teen years. Beginning at age 10 through the mid-20’s, massive changes are underway in the teen brain to develop capabilities related to impulse control, managing emotions, problem-solving and anticipating consequences. Substance use during this time period can prime the brain to be more susceptible to addiction and other mental health disorders, especially for kids who are more vulnerable.

How Do I Know if My Child is More Vulnerable to Addiction?

Any substance use has negative effects on a teen brain. But your child is more vulnerable to addiction if any of these risk factors are present:

  • Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and/or ADHD
  • Family history of substance use disorders or other addictions related to gambling, food, sex, etc.
  • Past trauma, such as a family death; divorce; or verbal, physical or sexual abuse
  • An “addictive personality”, a term used by many parents to describe a child who often acts without concern for the consequences, has difficulty following or obeying rules, and is engaged in other risky behaviors.

If any of these are a factor for your child, it’s especially important to take any substance use seriously, and act.

Take Action

Many parents feel that there isn’t much more they can do beyond lecturing or punishing their kid if they’re caught drinking or using other drugs. But there are proven ways to motivate your child to dial back their substance use. You can have a conversation with your child about substance use without it imploding, and begin encouraging healthy behaviors you want to see and discouraging those that you don’t – especially those related to substance use.

The tools and resources highlighted below are designed to help you help your child. We also offer a full library of parent resources – including our guides to vaping and marijuana – available to download for free.

What Tools and Resources Are Available to Help Me?

Free tools and resources are available to help guide your response to your child’s drug use at any time — even if you just want to assess whether or not it’s a problem in the first place.

Get One-on-One Help to Address Your Child’s Substance Use

Contact our Helpline to connect with a trained and caring master’s-level specialist. They can help you find answers and make an action plan for addressing your son or daughter’s substance use.

More information can be found at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Content is Informational Only:

The content of this site including text, graphics, images, and all other material are for informational purposes only. The information contained here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. ALWAYS seek the advice of your physician or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here!

If you are in a life-threatening situation or have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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Posted in News/Announcements, Parents.