I recently discovered my 17-year old son has been using drugs
for more than a year – pot, ecstasy and others. He says he knows
the risks of taking drugs but he doesn’t care because they’re
the most “fun” he’s ever had. We told him we wouldn’t allow
him to use drugs as long as he was our responsibility and that
we would send him to a treatment center if we had to in order
to protect him. That scared him enough that he agreed to stop
using drugs until he turns 18. My problem now is two-fold.
Short-term: How in the world do I know if he’s still using drugs?
We’ve told him he can’t go out with his friends anymore, but
he still has a job and goes golfing. How can we know what he’s
doing when we can’t watch him 24-hours a day? He says he’s not
using now but he lied to us for so long, I don’t trust him.
Long-term: How can we help him see that drugs just aren’t worth
the risks and dangers?
Good questions! You are on the right path. You’ve confronted
the problem and stated your expectations. Your trust is shot
and it’s not your fault – it’s his. So, set up a series of drug
tests through your family physician (it may be at his office
or he may recommend a lab or a hospital). The tests should be
once or twice a month for the first 3 months – and not on a
regular schedule. If he stays clean, you can drop back to once
a month (also at random intervals) and eventually move to occasional
testing – perhaps with a home drug-test kit. I wouldn’t recommend
the home kit at first. He needs to know you are deadly serious
about your expectations. As he regains your trust with clean
drug tests and good behavior, you can gradually restore his
Do check to make
sure he is in school every day. Insist on meeting his friends
– have them over for a barbeque or take them to a baseball
game. Look for good, accurate information about drugs on www.health.org,
Educate yourselves and then make that information available
to him. He will undoubtedly bristle at your restrictions but
there will be no doubt in his mind that you love him.
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