Drug abuse among teens is nothing new. In fact, U.S. Government statistics indicate that the abuse of drugs like Ecstasy is on the rise for the first time in years. While your son may not be using Ecstasy, he may very well be abusing prescription drugs. U.S. teens continue to abuse Vicodin, OxyContin, Adderall, and cold medicines. Even though these drugs are legal when prescribed by a physician, abusing them is not.
So what should you do if you think your son might be abusing drugs? First, donít ignore the problem. As tempting as it is to hope the problem will go away if you donít acknowledge it, that rarely happens. Of course, there are some teen boys who can dabble in recreational drug use without it being a problem (apart from the obvious issue that any misuse of drugs is a problem), but you canít take the chance that your son will be one of them. The stakes are just too high.
Trying to talk to your son about drug abuse if he is already using drugs can be difficult, as he is likely to be defensive. Still, let him know that you want to help him. If he doesnít want to talk to you, consider involving a trusted friend. Some teens are closer to their older siblings, uncles, or friendsí parents than they are to their own. Realize that now is not the time to assert your role as your sonís primary caretaker (which, of course, you are); find the person he is willing to talk to and enlist that personís help. Letting your son know that you want to help him far more than you want to discipline him (although itís normal to feel that way, too) may make the difference in his being honest if he has a problem.
Of course, everyone most likely knows at least one addict, so you already know that your son may not acknowledge having a problem. Thatís okay. He now knows that you know. You can more closely monitor his finances and friends. As long as his use was only recreational, this may be enough to stop it.
If you have a son who truly is addicted to drugs, you are probably scoffing at this piece. A teen who wants to get and use drugs will likely find a way, no matter how good your intentions are in trying to stop him. Professional help is a must, even if it is only having someone who can counsel you on how to handle your son. Understand that your sonís issues are not a reflection on you as a parent. By the teen years, your son is old enough to make his own decisions, and he needs to be able to take responsibility for them. Keep letting your son know that you love him. Keep talking to him. For help with what to say, call 1-800-622-HELP (the National Institute on Drug Abuse).