Son abusing prescription drugs.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I don’t know what to do. My son is 26 years old and has custody of his two young girls. He has been in jail for drugs in the past and was doing pretty good until now. For some reason, he seems to be doing a lot of lying to me and going through money quickly. I haven’t confronted him about drug use because I just worry about doing the wrong thing. I need advice quickly.
I know that he goes to a “pain clinic” for his back and gets prescription drugs. I know that he must be abusing them in a bad way.
Like I said he is getting to where he is lying to me in a big way and I’m getting pretty upset with him, but I want to be able to handle this the right way.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A: What you do is, as lovingly and as gently as you can, talk to him! It sounds like he has lost a battle with his drug addiction. Don’t underestimate the power of this disease! You see the signs. You know what is going on. So does he. Now you have two little girls to think about as well as your son. You can’t hesitate because you are afraid you’ll do the wrong thing or you’re afraid you’ll make him mad. Every day that goes by gives the addiction another day to take hold.
Love him. Tell him you are there to support him and help him and that he has to think of his kids’ well-being as well as his own. Remind him that he has succeeded in getting clean before so he knows he can do it. Insist on going with him to the doctor who is prescribing his pain medicine and ask for some help weaning him off the meds. Encourage your son to get involved with a twelve step program like Narcotics Anonymous (www.na.org) . If he can’t take care of the girls adequately, get them to a safer place. You may need to hold a family meeting of the extended family to organize support for the girls and your son as he once again works on getting clean.
The struggle with addiction is never easy. Often it takes a number of rounds before someone can extricate himself for good. He has slipped very badly but every day can be a new beginning.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Feb 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Son abusing prescription drugs.. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/02/son-abusing-prescription-drugs/