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What would you do if you caught your child using drugs?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I saw this commercial the other day and it was too adults. She had taken a pregnancy test. She sat it down on the counter. The caption read, "Their lives will change forever." She picks it up and sees that its positive. The caption then reads, "They will be the youngest grandparens in town." They step away and you see their young daughter. It's a comeercial about how smoking pot impairs your judgement.

I'm not sure how I would react if my son did drugs. I'd like to think I'd be calm about it but at the same time I think I would have to restrain myself. I know I have a while to think but I'm not sure I know what should be done.

My in-laws are struggling with my sil. She is 17 and rebelling. They found a letter in her room that was to her boyfriend about how they couldn't be together unless her parents were dead or she killed them! (fil was in her room getting back the camera she borrowed) They are afraid if they confront her she'll run but if they don't they're not sure what she'll do. They wonder but I'm pretty sure her and the doof are having sex. You can just tell by the way they act. I'm just afraid she's gonn do something stupid.

That was off topic but I don't know what I'd do in these situations!
post #2 of 22
One thing with our kids is that they will not be taught about drugs in school, that is our department as parents, thank you very much.
They will be taught the real consequences of experimenting with each and every drug, not some hyped up "smoke pot and it will kill you" propaganda. We plan on starting these discussions very soon, as ds1 is almost nine and is able to understand what is real and what isn't.

We plan on keeping the discussion going throughout their teen years, not just one conversation and then "wait and see". I don't plan on "catching" any of them doing drugs, they will hopefully be smart enough to talk to us about their lives as the years go on, and I will always remain non-judgemental regarding topics like sex and drugs. I just want them to make good choices. I'm sure they will not always do this, but I hope they will feel comfortable enogh to come to us and discuss these things with us before it becomes an "issue", kwim? And yes, this means that if they decide to try pot or have sex at 16, then I will give them all the info I have (and it's more than what DARE would give them, at any rate) and let them make their own choices. I know what kind of homelife drives kids to try the harder drugs, I saw it all too often growing up. But those commercials about pot are just propaganda and not real life. My kids have some pretty busy teen years ahead of them and their free time won't be all spent with their friends partying and having sex. They will be too busy working in our restaurant and doing volunteer work as well as being homeschooled. Not "under my thumb" but I will be available to them at any point they need me to be.

Sounds like your sil needs a good heart-to-heart with someone who will give her the real lowdown, not just a speech about how "you can't do this because..." She obviously feels like her boyfriend is the only one who will listen to her and understand her needs. She needs an adult to be there to listen, too.

Just my $.02
post #3 of 22

Our son is a big " pot head" He came to me and told me he was smoking when he was almost 17. I know he smokes daily and we did too at that age. And if I am going to be honest, we still do sometimes. Not daily though.......

We have always been very upfront and straight forward with our kids about drinking and drugs.I know, you know, we all know that it is out there and chances are VERY GOOD our kids will be offered and will experiment. I have talked to many kids/teens and they all feel the % is MUCH higher(of kids using) then the government reports.

I know the pot debate goes on, I have seen it here back in the fall. Personally, I feel alcohol is much more dangerous to our bodies that marijauna. Just my feeling on that issue..

I have always tried to keep the door open for communication and let the kids know that they can come to me and tell me anything.
Our son did call and tell us when he and half his dorm did mushrooms one weekend. He seemed a lttile afraid. we talked for an hour. I went to see him the next day and he told me he didn't think he would ever do "shrooms" again. It freaked him out too much...I am just glad he came to me.

I don't buy the belief that "pot" is a gateway drug to harder drugs... Pot is not the first drug kids try, alcohol is. I also believe that people are born addicts. These people will always struggle with drugs and alcohol consuming their lives.This group of people will have to choose sobriety. It can not be chosen for them. I was rasied in a 12 step family. I am fully aware of the hell drug/alcohol use can cause. My children are aware of this too. The choice to use and not to use is and always will be their's and their's alone.
A parent can not make their child not use/experiment. I have seen it over and over.

Very hardline parents who say,

"My kids will NEVER do drugs"
"Drugs will NEVER be allowed in our home"
" My child knows the danger, they will never even try drugs or
"Our kids are in church, we are a Godly family, drugs are not accepted"

Spend a week in a family program at "Hazelton" or any other treatment center. You will see kid after kid who 's parents say

" I never thought my kid would have............"

"We taught him/her the dangerous............

"He/She was raised in church.......'

"We always knew where he/she was going, who they were with, how did this happen....."

I am not sure if there is a right or wrong answer. WE can not be with them 24/7. But we can teach them to love themselves, respect life, respect others and respect themselves.... And then pray that that is enough

Just my 2cents,
post #4 of 22
granolamom, I thank you for your input. I hope our experiences mirror yours. I hope I wasn't coming across as "my kid will never..." because, honestly, I know they will, and frankly, I hope they do experiement a little. That would be far easier to deal with than a kid who keeps secrets and feels isolated. I just hope they feel comfortable enough to talk to me about their experiences and don't keep secrets from me.
You are so right about pot NOT being a gateway drug, if anything is a gateway, it's parents who make their kids grow up too fast by letting them stay alone a lot and "detach".
I also think that pot appears to be a gateway drug b/c it is illegal and this puts ppl in contact with "drug dealers" who are going to push harder drugs on them. The dealers are the "gateway". And if, as you point out, they are already predisposed to addictive behavior, pot will not satisfy that urge, they will continue to look for a "better high". I don't know that anything can save them from learning that lesson.

And yes, alcohol is far more dangerous in massive quantities, but it can be healthful if consumed conservatively and ritually (like wine with dinner). My father and just about all of his brothers (5) are alcoholics. My mother made a point of teaching my sister and I that alcohol was NOT taboo, that it's purpose was ritualistic, the use of it should be moderate. Neither of us has ever had issues with alcohol, and the odds that we would were pretty damn high.

ok, obviously I feel very strongly about this subject, so I'll sit back now and let someone else talk :LOL
post #5 of 22
My response would depend on the age of the kid. I intend to teach my kid that recreational drugs (legal and illegal) are only for adults because they're harmful to kids who haven't finished growing and developing. So, if I discovered that my kid <13 was using drugs, I'd be very concerned and do everything I could to put a stop to it. (I'd be as respectful as possible in doing this, tho, because inspiring hostile rebellion isn't going to help.) If the kid was 13-18, I'd still be pretty concerned, but my approach would be less "you have to stop" than "if you're going to do this, you have to behave responsibly." After 18, I'd be okay w/it unless I saw signs of problems related to the drug--like, he's quit school and can't keep a job because he does nothing but get high.

Pot is not the first drug kids try, alcohol is.
Actually, usually caffeine is. A lot of people don't think of it as a habit-forming mind-altering drug, but it is. I think the fact that it's legal for children and relatively mild provides a golden opportunity to teach kids about how to use mind-altering drugs sensibly. But most people don't think of that and allow their kids to consume unlimited amounts, without acknowledging to either themselves or the kids that it has both short- and long-term effects on their brains and bodies.

My theory on the "gateway drug" issue is that each person has a "best" substance that her brain really enjoys, determined by some aspect of individual brain chemistry. When she finds that substance, that's the one she'll use, dropping previous choices (except as the use of them is socially encouraged) and showing less interest in trying new ones. My theory is not based on any research I've seen (tho it doesn't contradict any, either) but on my observations of myself and people I know. I think the reason users of a particular "hard" drug typically have tried the "softer" drugs is that the softer drugs are easier to get and therefore tend to be tried in the search for the "best" drug. (There are, however, some people who just take as much as possible of any mind-altering substance they can get their hands on. I think there's just something wrong w/them--inadequate stimulation in infancy, or something.)

The "gateway drug" idea is a classic example of the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc (sp?) "After this, therefore because of this." The fact that most heroin users have tried marijuana does not mean that marijuana had anything to do w/their trying heroin. Only a tiny percentage of marijuana users will ever have any interest in heroin; therefore, it must not be true that marijuana makes people want heroin.

Sunmountain and Granolamom, I think you have the right approach!
post #6 of 22
Great honest replys, everyone! I've been rethinking this a lot since dd came along. I agree with a balanced. open dialogue, with older youth. I think I'd have trouble with dd experimenting much before 15 or 16, but then I don't think she'll be as inclined as I was because her childhood won't be the chaotic, often hellish experience I had. I think the key is how much of a focus is the "drug" use? I'd be much more concerned with lots of TV watching, than smoking a joint or having some wine/beer in a safe environment.

While I know communication is key in general, what do you all plan to do to be safe people to call for help and/or a ride home.
post #7 of 22
My theory on pot as a "gateway drug"

Marijuana is currently illegal--in the same category as cocaine, heroin, and other other hard drugs. Because the government classifies them together, when someone tries pot, they think, "Hey, this is no big deal! What was all the hype about?" and they figure that the government and adults in their lives must have been wrong about all the drugs. So they try one of the others and get hooked. The danger lies, I think, in classifying majijuana with the hard drugs, when it is really in a very different category. If marijuana were legal, it would not be a "gateway" drug.
post #8 of 22
Originally posted by EnviroBecca
The "gateway drug" idea is a classic example of the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc (sp?) "After this, therefore because of this." The fact that most heroin users have tried marijuana does not mean that marijuana had anything to do w/their trying heroin. Only a tiny percentage of marijuana users will ever have any interest in heroin; therefore, it must not be true that marijuana makes people want heroin.
Hmmm.. this is a difficult one. I agree and disagree. While I don't believe that marijuana leads people to physically crave other drugs, I do believe (and, in fact, have seen first-hand) that it's usage can lead people to mentally crave the experience of another sort of high. Also, because it *is* more readily and openly available, it's usage can help form the proper connections for people who find themselves wanting to try other, "harder" drugs. This was the exactly the case with my "brother" who died of a heroin overdose in 1998. He was a glowing, passionate force that withered into a shrunken shell. He began with pot and, through the people that he smoked with, was led to other drugs, eventually heroin. It was his progression - I watched him go through it and even traveled part of the road with him. I've seen it with a number of friends, as well, both before J and since.

I don't know for certain that J would have never begun using heroin had he not gotten so involved smoking marijuana. However, I do know that he was enough of an introvert - and had enough fear - that he would not have sought it out himself. Truly, the thought previously had alienated him, until he experienced the high that marijuana brought him and was assured that it would be even better. In this case, because pot was so openly offered, it opened the door to the offers of other drugs when this particular circle of people had absorbed him enough so that they knew he could be trusted. In that respect, pot was the "gateway" drug for him.

Anyway, that's why I agree and disagree. The experience is very different for people. I think to summarily dismiss pot as a portal to the world of "harder" drugs is as much a mistake as assuming across the board that it is the reason that all people seek out those drugs.

All that aside, I want to thank you mamas for your thoughts regarding "handling" drugs with your children. This is an issue I've struggled with greatly. J's death tore my heart in two and I've found myself feeling so venomously opposed to drugs that it's been affecting my view of those who use them. Shamefully, I'll admit that for a time I felt contempt rather than empathy for addicts. I'm working my way back from that because I don't favor passing that view onto my son. Your thoughts are helping me to understand how to find the happy medium...

post #9 of 22
Propaganda is just that. Children think outside the box. What a waste of tax $! Drug use has considerably gone up since the DARE program has taken hold. Rather than scare tactics, a new education program is in order because our current system is not working.

Sunmountain, like you, papa & I have chosen to educate our kids on drug use. We differ from many in that we consider cannabis a beneficial herb & not a drug. It is medicine, that adults should have every right to use. Children on the other hand need to be educated on the consequences of experimenting. I believe educating w/ tolerance & not just the all or nothing approach is important. Keeping that door to communication open w/ kids is detrimental. In the end, our children need to grow up to make good choices on their own. We're just guiding them on their path.

I feel as a family we can handle the issue of drug education at home w/o any outside help from big brother, thank you.
Our dd who's 9 & will be in the 5th grade next schoolyear will not be attending the DARE program w/ her peers. I've been researching this program & don't agree w/ their one sided tactics.

Most children w/ loving families won't feel the need to turn to mind altering substances at such a young age.
post #10 of 22
You know, I was thinking about this more last night and realized that none of us had responded much to the premise of the commercial Megan saw. Can marijuana impair your judgment? Yes. But...

If my 14-year-old daughter told me that the reason for her pregnancy was that she smoked marijuana, I would not accept that answer. The reason for her pregnancy is that she had unprotected sex; the reason that she had unprotected sex is that she used poor judgment; while the marijuana made it more difficult for her to use good judgment, using marijuana in the first place was her choice, and she must take responsibility for it. She knew (because I had taught her) that recreational drug use makes it more difficult to think clearly and, therefore, it is important not to use drugs in the company of people you don't trust and important to be careful about how much you use. The initial act of poor judgment, by which she wound up so excessively stoned that she did not consider the ramifications of unprotected sex, was NOT caused by marijuana impairment.

If we blame marijuana for the whole thing, what are we saying? That the drug is so powerful that it impairs your judgment before you even use it! If we think that's true, then there's no way we can expect her to resist the drug or any negative consequence associated with it.
post #11 of 22
I haven't seen that commercial (we don't watcxh broadcast TV) but if I had it would really make me angry. I don't buy the whole "gateway" drug idea- culture is more of a gateway than substances, but either way it is not an excuse.
I think we will handle drugs the same way that we handle all difficult subjects- presenting as much information as we have, keeping a conversation going and being open to our children, as well as keeping them centered at home and busy with productive things.
post #12 of 22
Cool thread -

my feeling is that getting pregnant at a young age (or any age) and marjiuana use are not related.

I sort of find it ironic that the same govt. who doesn't want you to use pot also doesn't want to spend $ on preventing underage pregnancy/contraception.

Anyway that's my 2 cents.

Granolamom: I think you are very cool.
post #13 of 22
To the original question....I'd have to simply say be careful, and be smart. I hope to teach my son about the nature of drugs before I 'catch' him doing some. I certainly could not take a hard line approach, since I have experimented with many different types of drugs in my life, but I've done so with full knowledge of the full effects of the drugs, short and long term, on brain and body. I've had an advantage; a brother who just about ruined his life doing cocaine. I know myself enough to realize that I too have addictive tendancies, something I've had to keep in touch with while 'experimenting'. I really think it is up to us as parents to educate and inform our kids about all aspects of drug use, and to do that we have to inform ourselves from a variety of sources.

In regards to pot as the gateway drug, well, if there were no such thing as pot, some other drug would quickly gain the title of gateway. Some drugs are hard, some are soft, but all are used to alter our existing state of mind, including alchohol. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, if used with moderation and knowledge.

There is, however, another aspect to drug use that we all should think about in relation to the use of drugs, and that is the drug trade itself. It can get really nasty out there, and if we, or our children, choose to do drugs, then we are a part of that trade. Unless, of course, you grow your own pot!!! ha ha ha.

Anyway that is my two cents. neat and interesting thread here, thanks to all the open responces.
post #14 of 22

Depends on the drug...

If it's something like meth, they will be in live-in rehab so fast their heads will spin.

Having been beaten (and seen the damage even when not directed at me) by people who are coming down off of crack or meth, I will *not* put everyone else in the family at risk for that. I will get them the best help I can, but the minute I find out they will not receive any $$ from me (aside from me directly paying the rehab people). Second time I catch it in my house, I turn it over to the cops.

I guess that makes me hardline. But hard, violence-inducing drugs are something I will not EVER have around me again. I would not turn a blind eye to it, or laugh it off.

Since I am allergic to smoke and have asthma attacks, I'm afraid my poor kids will have to wait to toke it up in their rooms until they can get out on their own.

Everyone has their limits, or things they really can't stand. Street drugs are one of mine. And you know, I don't think it makes me a bad person for saying that. I've got my reasons, and my kids will know them. They'll have a choice, and they'll know the consequences...so ultimately it's their decision to make.
post #15 of 22
Tigerchild, I think all of us are afraid of drugs like meth And I would have to agree that if I found out that one of my kids was doing that or coke or heroine I would not hesitate to put them in rehab. Some lessons have to be learned the hard way, and with choice comes responsibility.
post #16 of 22
I don't believe in the gateway theory at all; it's like saying that milk leads to alcoholism because every alcoholic started on milk. I know that virtually nobody starts her drug career with heroin, but even drinking beer will not simply lead to stashes of Johnny Walker in the cupboard.

I do believe in the separation of pot (and maybe a few others) and other street drugs though. As is pretty well known around here, I'm from a place where pot is legal, and this means that it's used and sold in a circuit separate from other drugs. The consequence is that your pot dealer usually has no easy access to heroin or meth or whatever, so won't try to sell it either.

Also, I've often seen that pot is really mellower. When I walk in Amsterdam at night, the big guy in the alley is more likely to ask for a big cigarette paper than wave a knife. I have NEVER felt threatened there, but in US cities I have several times (not often though. Being 6'1" helps )

I also believe that using many other drugs points at a problem. I've done most street drugs (btw, not while in HOlland, but in countries where everything was illegal), and my and many others' experiences guide me to believe that "feel good" drugs like pot and xtc are often used for purely recreational purposes, but "speedy" drugs hint at an underlying problem.

If my children use "speedy" drugs, I'd be alarmed. And I'd know that, if they did it in secret, I'd be part of the problem that makes them do it, even if just by my emotional absence that would have led them to drugs instead of me. I'm not going to restrict pot. If addiction is genetic, my children will be sensitive to it, and I'd rather be able to help them make decisions about what to do. I hope that if she wants to smoke pot, she'll do it in our living room, so I know what's going on. I started drugs to rebel, my children will have to rebel by voting Republican

Sorry for the lousy grammar. Many interruptions.

Oh, and the ad this thread started with? Puhleezzee.... NOw I know why men aren't really considered responsible for unwanted pregnancies. It's not them, but the pot that makes women pg... "No, mom, I didn't have sex. It was an immarijuanate conception."

And Megan, if I were your sil's daughter, I'd get the he!! out of there, too.
post #17 of 22

It's all about personal responsibility ~ PERIOD

Hi guys! great thread...
I would be pi$$ed as hell if I caught my kids doing drugs without my knowledge ~ at myself! What in *me* caused them to keep this secret?
(I hope it's just because they don't want to share! inky)
My children's education with drugs has been life-long, though they're only 6 & 4. I truly believe Woody Harrelson's line "If drugs we're *really* illegal in this country, Wenchell's Donuts would be out of business" The two most abused chemicals in the US are sugar and caffiene, but I don't see any commercials regarding their evils? I hate to see Pepsi machines in schools that have the DARE program. I hate the term *Drugs & Alcohol* like alcohol isn't a drug?? I don't want my kids to see me as a liar ~ especially in this arena. How many parents tell their kids "Cocaine will kill" then the kid goes to a party, does a line, *doesn't* die... Mom and Dad will forevermore be untrustworthy. Our children deserve the truth. Brain altering chemicals should be used in moderation and for their intended purpose (even if that purpose is a good time) with personal responsibility for the consequences of their choices. My kids know that some drugs are just plain *grown up* drugs, they're really terrible for your growing body. Ultimately, their bodies are theirs to do with as they choose, like so many of you, I want my kids to make their own wisened decisions, educated decisions, but *their own* ~ yeah, I'd selfishly like them to be similar to mine but I know they won't always be and that's okay because I'm preparing them to be ready for those choices (well, they already are ... we discuss caffiene/sugar and appropriate timing of each/both, at great length, at our house)
My favorite kids and drugs story: Soon after DH's 2nd funeral, we were walking down the boardwalk at Venice Beach, past a head shop. My, then 2 yo, son pointed and yelled "Daddy's Me'cine!" EVERYONE stopped and smiled at my baby's insight! Few things can pi$$ me off more than the thought of being arrested for what the Doctors at the freaking Mayo Clinic told us was the VERY BEST thing for his anorexia from Radiation, nausea from Chemo, *and* Depression (his & mine)... hmmmm

~diana << this needs to be a chick!
post #18 of 22
Great thread with many well-thought-out points made. Here in CA, pot is not thought of as anything much. It's not a big deal, altho the potency of the pot here is very concentrated. When DS (now 21) was in his teen years, I tossed him into rehab because he was WAY too into bong hits several times daily. He wasn't rehabilitated, but he did acknowledge that a stoned lifestyle wasn't a great way to live. Now he's much more moderate; holds down a job and lives on his own. We laugh about people who are stoned and stupid. He's a great kid. (I guess now he's a great adult!)
Having said that, we made him and his younger bro aware from a very young age that they have inherited the addictive behavior gene from both sides of their family. They have seen first-hand with aunts and uncles what drugs do to a family. Unfortunately, both sides of the family are rife with bad examples. Blessings on all parents struggling with this as an issue.
post #19 of 22
WHOOPS! What about the plug-in drug, TELEVISION!!! (Joke -- or not. . . )
post #20 of 22
I've seen that commercial. Talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth. What does it mean when your gov't wants to control everything you do or don't do, and uses fear tactics to do so?

Anyway, if I were in that situation, I wouldn't ask what mind-altering drugs had led to sex, so I doubt the marijuana use would ever come up. I would tell my dd "congratulations" and ask her how the sex was. We'd take it from there.

I have no problem w/my kids smoking marijuana. Or drinking alcoholic beverages. Or coffee or fruit punch.

The key is moderation. By the time my dd is 14, she will know how to tell when she's ovulating. So, hopefully, she'll have the sense to make the boy put on a condom. Or, just say no.
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