Steps to take right away

Do not give up on your child! Get your child help. Once you’ve spoken to your child, it’s important to act quickly. Even though your child may not acknowledge it, you’ve communicated how worried you are, and how much you care. Now you need to follow through.

The first step to helping your child is to get an assessment with a professional. An assessment will help you get professional advice on how to deal with your child, and help you begin to find resources. If your child refuses to go, schedule the assessment and go anyway. Tell your child that if they are not there, the counselor will not hear their side of the story.

Remove access to the four C’s: Cash, Cars, Cell phones and Computers. All these can be used to get drugs.

To get an assessment, support, and referrals to community resources contact a:

  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Pediatrician, health care provider or social worker
  • Guidance counselor
  • Religious leader
  • Teacher

During this time, it’s important for everyone in the family to avoid enabling. Enabling means you are making it easier for your child to use substances.

Examples of enabling:

  • Tolerating abusive behavior
  • Letting your child get away with excuses
  • Letting your child break rules that you have set about curfews, cell phone use and using the car
  • Ignoring obvious instances of being drunk or high
  • Calling your child in sick when he or she is hung over
  • Allowing inappropriate behavior to happen at your house so that you can "keep an eye on it"