Teens and Drug Use – Detection and Approach

To be an effective parent we all need to use the most effective information we can. The question was recently asked, "How do I know if my teen is on drugs?" "What signs should I look for?" These are important questions to ask. It is important to approach these types of questions with eyes-wide-open rather than leaning toward denial by giving the teen the dangerous benefit of the doubt. If you have the signs, do whatever you can to avoid the pitfall of giving your teen the proverbial benefit of the doubt. Too many minors have been lost because of these words.

At the early stages of detecting drug use it is easy for a parent fall into the traps. "Not my son," or "I just do not believe it." Also do not make excuses for your teen. These are extremely dangerous approaches that generally are the result of a refusal to face the facts. These experiences may include self-doubt, and second-guessing ones own parent style. Avoid falling into the trap of denial. Many parents fall into the sad scenario of refusing to step up, become accountable and all due because of extreme embarrassment and shame.

I have found in my experience that if a minor is on the road to drugs there is generally a volume of information that indicates drug activity. The indicators generally are not very far away and do not take a seasoned detective to discover. Look for the most obvious signs and go from there.

First of all, the best indicator that I have for evaluating a teen who may have a drug problem is school performance. Simply look at their grades. If there is a sudden drop in performance or issues surrounding grades that simply can not be reasonably explained, start looking for drugs. You do not have to be accusatory in this approach. Just do not give your child a pass simply because the problem has never been there before. As a parent it is your first responsibility is to protect your teen. Of course there may be other reasons for the decline in behavior but without these are obvious, look for drugs.

Marijuana use is almost universally the most commonly known and abused drug in the teen years. (as from alcohol) The substance is usually smoked in home-made cigarettes, or other manufactured pipes or bongs. (a bong is a pipe that utilizes water). Hash can be smoked, ateen or included in baked goods. A frequent option chosen by teens is the low-profile approach of placing the substance in chewing gum. Frequently, but not always, tobacco use precedes the use of marijuana.

Signs to look for include, dilated pupils, odor of cannabis on clothing, belongings, in bedroom, or car. If you do not know the smell of marijuana find someone who does. Marijuana has a specific and distinct odor. Bloodshot eyes are common, along with a sleepy appearance and reduced motivation. Here many parents will find eye drops and air fresheners used by teens in an attempt to mask these signs or odors.

If you suspect drug use have your teen tested to confirm your suspicions and if necessary to convince family, school or counselors of your findings. Once you are at this point you are in a position to begin to make a plan for recovery.

Whatever you do, if you find yourself at this point, never let things go thinking there is nothing that can be done. Also do not let your discovery simply become a discussion with your teen about drugs. Sometimes this is the first and only time parents discuss drug use with their teen. If this is the case you are too late. If you have this information you are way behind in the game and need to catch up. It is now time to produce intervention plans and options that will guide and steer your teen to avoidance and sobriety.

Whatever the circumstances are remain alert and aggressive in your desire to parent your teen right. There are many options out there, and help is available in places you may not expect. Hold on and you just might make it through to your own teen success.

Source by Kevin Tingey

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