Posts Tagged child drug abuse
Drug abuse has always been a lingering issue in the global scene, and especially in children and teenagers. It’s important for parents and guardians to always be on the lookout for the potential of their kids to engage in drug use.
If you suspect your teen children to be using (or abusing) drugs, here are five steps to help you address the issue:
1. Check signs of drug use
You may not be a licensed psychologist or drug abuse expert, but you may have observed some tell-tale signs that your child may be using drugs. Some of these include missing prescription drugs in the home cabinet, frequent and excessive use of perfume (to remove smoke odor), decline in academic standing, or less frequent socialization.
2. Search their things
Although it may appear as an invasion of privacy, searching your child’s things could give you hints on their potential drug abuse. Try to do a search discretely over your kids’ room, particularly in desks and drawers, under the bed, behind the closet, or any possible space that’s good for hiding stuff.
3. Intervene immediately
A prompt intervention is a good way to start handling a drug problem, but try to make it less painful and direct. Create an atmosphere of a welcoming discussion for your children. If you feel like your emotions will get the best of you, postpone the discussion to another time. Eventually, if you feel like your child is using illegal drugs, consult a professional who can handle the situation better.
4. Implement preventive actions proactively
Restrict access to things that can potentially induce substance abuse at home. Examples include locking the liquor cabinet, making a regular inventory of the medicine cabinet contents, or verifying his performance in school.
5. Be understanding
Drug abuse may be a sensitive and alarming problem, but don’t let your child think that you’re going to police and punish them for what they did. Instead, be a parent by caring for your kid’s welfare and eventual healing. Be as understanding as possible while being firm on saying no to illegal drug use.
Prescription drug abuse has become a hot topic as of late, with a string of fatalities and hospital admissions caused by this alarming issue. Worse, some medical professionals are not aware that they are issuing prescriptions for excessively strong medications.
According to ABC Australia, doctors in the country were able to issue more than 100,000 prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs to children in 2013. Queensland, one of the many states in Australia, pegged the highest rate in anti-psychotic drug prescriptions at 645 per 100,000 people. NSW and Victoria followed suit.
While some child cases were under the supervision of consenting parents, other children given overprescribed medicines were in foster homes. Majority of the anti-psychotic drugs were designed to treat psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but a growing trend is turning to these medicines to address autism and aggression in kids.
According to the news report, medical professionals are not united in the issue on prescribing anti-psychotic medication in children. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists allow this kind of medicine to be prescribed to kids for legitimate reasons, with psychosis being one of them. “Sometimes we do see kids who have aggressive and behaviour problems who’ve had a range of many other treatments and sometimes they do benefit from anti-psychotic treatment,” said Dr. Nick Kowalenko, college chair for child and adolescent psychiatry. However, Kowalenko emphasized that the drugs are not absolute substitutes to a “comprehensive treatment approach”.
Risperidone is the medicine most often prescribed by doctors to treat psychosis in Australia, with over 28,000 prescriptions issued in 2013 alone.
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Statistics on drug abuse in the year 2011 proves to be very alarming especially for parents. For the fourth straight year, marijuana use among high school seniors increased. In the same student population, 50% of them admitted to using illicit drugs at some point in their young lives while 40% of them are already into one or more types of drug abuse in the past year alone.
Unfortunately, not all drug abuse cases get the necessary treatment or therapy. More than 23 million people in America are hooked on drug and alcohol use, yet only 2.6 million receive the help that they need to sober up again.
When this problem occurs in the family especially on kids, parents should be ready and equip themselves to be able to deal with the situation. When parents suspect their child is into drug use, it’s best to have him immediately tested. Parents can purchase drug testing kits for their children or acquire the services of professionals in doing the process.
Kids are not the only ones who need help with drug problems. Parents too need the proper information and support to better handle their kids’ problems. The more parents learn about the condition of their kids, the more they are able to help them get better. There are many organizations that offer their services to help parents in complicated situations.
It is necessary to have the parent-child talk, but it should be done at the right time and place. Do not attempt to talk to kids when they are under the influence or when there are other people that could hear your conversation. Yet it is important that the talk should be made at the soonest possible time before things get worse.
Parents should never let shame or fear get in the way of helping their child. After all, there are other families who experience the same problem and resolving the problem is much more important than keeping family reputation.
As parents, you would have to be sensitive and observant about the ways of your teen as he goes through the critical periods of his life.
There are times that parents think their kids are into life-threatening substance abuse habits. But for some, they often refuse to look into their teen’s true situation for the sake of not losing “trust” and “privacy” in the family. Parents would often feel they are going beyond the boundaries that define their child’s independence. Due to these apprehensions, teens often go into such activities and sometimes, parent intervention becomes too late.
Once a child is into substance abuse, it’s difficult to deal or fix the situation. This is why a parent’s role should not be taken for granted in helping kids avoid making their own mistakes. Here are some ways that could help parents detect teen substance abuse.
1. Being a parent, you must educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of teen substance abuse. This way, you could easily tell if something is wrong.
2. Get to know your kid’s friends. You will gain much information about what your child is doing through his friends.
3. Check their laundry. It’s a good way of going through your child’s stuff without having the guilt feeling that you do not trust them enough. Be on the lookout for anything left in their pockets and for some abnormal marks on their clothing.
4. Be a friend who’s ready to listen. Make your child feel at ease with you when he talks about his problems and the things that disturb him.
5. Do you know that a simple hug can open the window in determining your child’s troubles? Yes, when you do give them a hug, you can smell and feel if your child just smoked or took certain drugs.
Cough medicine is a possible addictive substance that kids can easily get hold of. Parents think that since cough medicines are legal and sold in most drug stores, it’s safe and harmless. Although it has not been a choice drug for children, most of them who become addicted with such types of medicines are typically engaged in other types or forms of drug abuse. This fact alone makes it a very worrisome issue.
By the time parents see signs and symptoms that their child is into drugs, their kids have already long been addicted and could be using more than one form of drugs. This is why the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University campaigns for teens and parents to always have quality time together to avoid having drug and alcohol problems at home. In a study conducted by the University, it was found out that most teens who have solid relationships with their parents were less likely to become drug or alcohol addicts.
It also helps when parents do their jobs as caretakers of their children. Whenever they sense that their child is into something dangerous, they should take the necessary steps to intervene and take a look at all the angles of the problem, without interfering with their children’s own identity and privacy.
It’s best that you get your children involved in coming up with a solution to the problem. When there are strong evidence that your child is in trouble, immediately talk to your child. Make your child feel that despite what he’s into, you are still there to listen to him and to help him get back on the right track.
Parents should realize the importance of respecting their teen’s privacy. There are times that kids get into trouble and other complicated situations, and parents automatically react to safeguard their child’s well-being. But sometimes, parents cause more trouble by stepping into their child’s privacy while protecting them; the question then is should parents consider their teen’s privacy first, or should they be doing their jobs regardless of whether their kids allow it or not?
When teens get into drugs and alcohol addiction, there are two extreme ways parents usually react. A parent can overreact and put the situation in their hands, or they don’t do anything at all. Those who choose to do option 2 think that it’s just a phase that children undergo, and that it will, in time, go away. But what if it does not go away and becomes out of control?
Experts in the field of child psychiatry say that parents should talk to their kids about the problem. Before doing any investigative work, it’s best to get the facts straight from your child’s mouth. For all you know, it might be something else other than drugs and alcohol that may be causing trouble in your child’s life. After talking with your kids, tell them that you are seeing a possible complication in your lives and that as a parent, you would have to intervene.
Parents often get scared when the need to talk about drugs and alcohol arises. The most common cause is the lack of knowledge on the subjects and the inability to anticipate possible questions that children may raise on the matter. If this case applies to you, it’s about time you spend time in your community library or educate yourself using the internet. You can also take part in programs in your area that aims to fight drug and alcohol abuse among teens.