Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The most important debates that often usual evolve relate to the following questions:
- Is he/she just experimenting or will it turn into dependence?
- Is he/she already dependent but we don’t know the signs?
- How do you know when experimentation becomes dependence?
- Aren’t there many teens that experimented and never became alcohol or drug dependent
- I experimented when I was a teen and I’m not dependent, right?
It’s best to avoid engaging in any of these debates for which neither debate team member(s) is qualified, and best to consider an Early Intervention Program (EIP) that does not label him or her dependent or not.
A quality EIP does not judge, but does:
- A drug and alcohol assessment or evaluation
- The teen signs an agreement to enter EIP and the experience will help answer the above 5 questions and more
- EIP usually meets 1-4 evenings per week for 4 to 6 weeks
- Unannounced random supervised comprehensive urine drug screens occur throughout EIP
- EIP participants engage in cognitive behavioral group, individual and family sessions where the above 5 questions and associated questions and issues are discussed
Teens typical reactive to an EIP proposal as follows:
- Seriously, you must be kidding!
- Don’t you think you are over reacting?
- It’s just a little weed, no biggy!
- Oh yeah, sure, what do you think I’m shootin’ heroin?
- Everybody is doing it, what’s with all the noise?
- The shit’s legal already!
- So, let me get this straight: It is okay for you to drink but not for me?
- Didn’t you use drugs when you were young?
- Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn out Larry the looser.
- You’re the head case around here, not me.
- Why don’t you go to EIP
EIP has to be voluntary.
If they respond: I’m not going, then begin the following:
- Remind them that it was their choices which got them in the problematic circumstance that has arisen
- Highlight that it is their own decision(s), not just the luck of the draw or bad luck that got them to this place.
- Where pertinent or applicable, inform your child that their choices and/or behaviors affect the whole family
- The parent(s) should consider attending Families Anonymous
- Look into consulting with a person trained in interventions
- Offer financial assistance only when it is a move towards your child’s personal advancement
- Do not offer money knowing it will take them further along the road of risky behavior.
- Money should be linked to a child’s sincere efforts to better their situation.
- If you feel guilty, buy her a bag of groceries, don’t fork over cash.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY. Because We Care.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”
– Robert Collier
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