Just For Parents: How to Help Your Teen treat a Drug Problem
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Just For Parents: How to Help Your Teen Get Help for a Drug Problem

“How do I help my child with a drug problem?”

If you are a parent who is experiencing the devastation of teen or adolescent drug addiction, you probably have many questions and no answers. You have tried to help your child on your own, but to no avail. As a result, your child is sinking deeper into addiction and their drug problem is becoming more serious. It may feel like you are fighting a losing battle, and running out of time.

Teen substance abuse and addiction is a complex issue. In order to help your teenager through these difficult times and guide them to recovery, you need to take a step back to look at all of your options. Fortunately, there are many options to help your teen overcome their addiction. The following is a basic guide for parents who are seeking to help their teen find the help they need to drug and alcohol addiction.

What Parents Can Do To Help Their Child With Their Drug Problem


One of the first things parents need to do if their teen is addicted to drugs is to seek medical help from your family doctor, or other qualified medical professional. During this appointment, your child can be screened for drug use as well as any related physical or mental conditions. You may also consult an addiction specialist if one is available in your area. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

There are 3,500 board certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine Web site has a “Find a Physician” feature on its home page, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent has a “Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder” on its website.”

Finding and placing your child in a teenage drug treatment center is the best possible option to help them overcome their addiction. It is important to know that because your teen is still developing physically, cognitively and psychologically you need to find a treatment center that is experienced with teen drug abusers and has programming tailored to their unique needs. These drug programs for teens should also have solid aftercare and therapy options that teach the life skills needed to sustain recovery.

Helping your teen with their addiction doesn’t have to fall squarely on your shoulders; saving them is a team effort. For example, school guidance counselors have seen teens with drug issues and there may programs available at their school. Additionally, extended family such as aunts, uncles, and cousins can be of help by engaging them in a family outing or hobbies, away from the temptations of their environment.

Another option that parents may not know about are state laws and statutes regarding their child’s welfare. In many states there are state statutes that clearly define the parent’s right to seek help for their children for their general welfare. For example, the state of Florida has state statutes which afford parents the right to seek drug treatment services for their child under the age of 18. In many states, there can also be laws that can terminate parental rights if a child’s basic needs aren’t met. Consult with a child care worker or social worker to know about your rights as a parent.

Ultimately, the best thing a parent can do to help their teen is to love them. Try to find ways to put aside your anger, fear, and disappointment and show concern and compassion. Actively listen to your child and don’t rush to judgment. Without the love and support from you, your child will continue to struggle.

2 Responses to “Just For Parents: How to Help Your Teen Get Help for a Drug Problem”

  1. My son has been suffering with a substance abuse problem, and I had no idea what to do. I felt like there was so much responsibility on my shoulders to help save him from this horrible addiction, but I didn’t know what to do. I love your advice about making this a team effort, so I don’t have to go through this alone. I can talk to his school counselors about checking up on him, as well as a couple of his cousins. This would take a huge burden off of my shoulders, and I wouldn’t feel so alone.


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