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Drug abuse in young people is on the rise. Marijuana, prescription drugs, synthetic drugs, and even heroin are being used by teens across the country. If your child is behaving out of character or erratically, assess the situation. As a parent, you know your children can sometimes be moody and unpredictable. Trust your instincts to determine if something is wrong with your child. If you have reason to believe your child is taking drugs, don’t get angry, get honest.


First, know what drugs are out there.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are the second most common group of drugs abused among youth after marijuana and can be deadlier than heroin and cocaine combined. Unfortunately, prescription drugs are frequently readily accessible in the medicine cabinets at home and in the homes of other relatives and friends. Young people may believe that, because these drugs are given out by healthcare professionals, they are somehow healthier than illicit drugs. For more information on prescription drug abuse and what you can do, click here. [link to resource]


Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs, most commonly including synthetic marijuana and bath salts are increasingly being used. These drugs mimic the high that users get from marijuana, but are often sold legally in the form of potpourri or jewelry cleaner. Synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous because buyers don’t know what chemicals they are ingesting.


Illegal Drugs

Unfortunately, illegal drugs are becoming more and more accessible for young people. Marijuana (sometimes in homes legally as medical marijuana), cocaine, ecstasy, crystal meth, and heroin are all out there. Using these drugs can be harmful for anyone, but are especially bad for young people who are still growing.


What You Can Do to Help

Young people begin to abuse drugs for a variety of reasons: boredom, peer pressure, rebellion, instant gratification that a high gives them, being unhappy with their lives. If you believe your child is abusing drugs, don’t self-blame or ignore the problem. Get help for your child – and for yourself. Most parents aren’t equipped to handle the unpredictability of a child on drugs. Talk to school staff, teachers and counselors, your child’s doctor, or a substance abuse professional for advice. Make sure everyone in the family unit has support.


  • Drug abuse puts a big strain on the family dynamic. Learning to trust one another again is a slow, step-by-step process – requiring everyone in the family to understand not only the reasons why a young person chooses drugs, but also the role the family may have played in his or her decision. The best option is to start at the beginning. Frank family discussions about tough times at home (divorce, financial trouble, abuse, etc.) can bring your family closer. Have ongoing conversations with your teen about good choices, safety, and not using drugs.