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How to Talk to Your Kids When You Think They’re Using Drugs

You suspect your teen is using drugs. Maybe they’re not acting like themselves. Maybe they’re cutting school or shirking other responsibilities. Maybe their grades are dropping. Or their behavior is worsening. Maybe they’ve started hanging out with a bad crowd.

Maybe they’re being secretive and have even stolen money from your wallet. Maybe their physical appearance has changed with rapid weight loss or red eyes. Maybe you’ve noticed a change in their sleep habits, energy level and mood. Maybe you’ve actually found marijuana or other drugs in their room.

Naturally, the thought and possible confirmation of your child using drugs trigger a rush and range of emotions: anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, fear.

If you think your child is using drugs, how do you approach them? Where do you start?

11 Comments to
How to Talk to Your Kids When You Think They’re Using Drugs

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  1. Hi, I would like to see an extention of this article where it was discussed how to talk to your kids about the drugs you want them to take and not the drugs you don’t want them to take. After a life long pressure to make them take drugs for their ADHD or ADD so that they “act better” and “feel better”. After a life long of being pushed on Prozac to reduce their anxiety and make them feel “happy” or “not depressed”. After a life long of watching their parents used coffee, sugar, nicotine, and alcohol (as well as a society where the commercials make “getting high” on these drugs appealing), how do YOU talk to them about drugs? I keep seeing that 1980’s commercial.. “where did you learn to do this!!?” “I learned it by watching you alright!” At the moment you suspect your kids are on drugs, you have already had a major failure as a parent. How do you recover from that?

    • You are not a failure as a parent! It seems to me you have great insight. You cannot force your children to take medications that will help them. They just be willing to make the choice on their own.

  2. I am an advanced placement student, in highschool on my way to being a doctor. I’m was the precalculus student of the year and the top in my anatomy and physiology class. I have a great relationship with my family and I occasionally smoke a little weed. I’ve been smoking ever since I was 15(never cigarettes!) Sometimes I smoke in the evening to relax but I spend long periods of time completely sober. I’ve never had any trouble with addiction. From about April to June I do not smoke at all because of the end of the year tests and honestly doesn’t alcohol cause millions of deaths? Yet it isn’t as looked down upon as pot. Perhaps your child isn’t a just following what his friends are doing. As long as they are at least 15 and their not negatively effected.

    • I find it amazing that you are at the top of your class and started smoking weed at 15??? you have to have a good head on your shoulder in order to achieve such high (no pun indented) but what abt the young adults that think that getting high and NOT applying themselves in doing better in life ie, getting a job and better themselves??? just wondering- i have a 23 yr old that is back home and can’t pass a simple drug test in order to work at a convenience store?? any suggestions???

      • How about setting consequences.. if they fail the drug test, or dont get a certain GPA .. make it required if the 23 yr old is going to live at home, they MUST be in school (i.e. college) in order to live rent free, etc.. I will pay for pretty much ~everything~ as long as (mine) is in school, doesnt do drugs (yes I know this gets broken, but I ignore marajuana and will push this issue tho on ANY harder drugs but I dont reveal this double standard.. that way if they smoke pot, they are “getting away with something” yes its a game but IDC it WORKS) and as long as they are doing these things, when they get to the point of having a 4 yr degree, they are more focused on achieving mor of what they hav earned to that point, and I can only hope that the standard set will continue as a pattern..

    • My son fits your description perfectly he’s also really high it about student and tells me the same thing if I’ll come was okay why isn’t pot and he says that he’s not but you know eventually it will affect you come back to bite you but please help me understand my son I just can’t be okay with him doing that

  3. isn’t that the Foundation we lay, as parents..?? Isnt that what its all about..??

  4. I found my son is now 20 but when I found out he was 19 he’s A very intelligent young man but when I confronted him he always says I don’t do that often I know what I’m doing he’s a know it all. I did notice he lost a lot of weight is also doing a lot of exercise and eating more healthy so that kind of made me have second thoughts but I did find some proven I did tell him about it and I did See and he didn’t deny it and he said that he was already old enough but I I told him there’s rules in this house and that is not excepted and I won’t do it at your house and we left it at that. Again a year later and I found some stuff again and now he’s 20 years old and was just arguing over all the time and I just don’t know what to do I’m afraid he’s going to be assisting pot now but is going to go to do some other stuff, make me do that I’m smart I have five children he’s my second oldest just don’t know if I should tell them to leave my house very scared confused disappointed mom

  5. I am a parent of an 18 yr old who just admitted to ” smoking pot” occasionally. In my 20 yrs experience and as an adult who is IN recovery for 18 yrs myself from a using drugs, I failed this evening because I let my emotions come in between what I wanted to tell/ educate my son about the process of addiction and inevitable consequences. I don’t really think I failed bu I sure feels like that as he left my house and has left us wondering of his safety. My advise is to speak clearly setting strong limits and boundaries. Understanding that drug use is a big part of our society, that all the therapy in the world will never make a difference until he is ready to make a change. I understand that underlying issues play a minor role in addiction however my heart tells me that I have to leave him to experience his own upsets and consequences while placing and sticking to my own in my house. He understands that his addiction affects all around him to include his siblings, that It progressively gets worse and that he has all my support. I have him his space and I know we will all learn from this experience. I have instilled and educated all my children about drug use.. The rest is up to God. Don’t EVER give up on ur children and they will always know they have support when their ready. Godspeed to all families in this situation.

  6. What do I do? My niece as been in trouble for about 4 years (she just turned 18). Arrests for shoplifting, theft, expelled from school. My sister refuses to get help for her – they went to counseling, the counsellor said my niece was extremely immature – my niece behaves more like 10 year old than a teenager -my sister pronounced the counsellor insane, so, no more counsellor. I can’t overstate how bad the situation is – I know she is doing bars (Xanax) who knows what else – my sister bailed out the brother of my niece’s boyfriend, turned out he was a heroin addict. When suggested that maybe her daughter be tested for heroin my sister’s response was “absolutely not!” My niece has recently lost a fair amount of weight – over 5 pounds in a month and at 5′-1″ tall she now weighs 83 pounds. My other sister (she is 20 years older than we are – the niece’s mother is my twin) refuses to consider that my niece is an addict and thinks that she has behavioral problems – which may be the case. It is just a matter of time before my niece is dead – one of her boyfriends was recently convicted in the murder of 3 children. My sister seems relatively unconcerned about what is going on but then while they moved (my niece was 15 at this time) to get away from a person termed a pimp by the police my sister would take my niece back to that area and drop her off. I don’t understand my sister’s behavior and I am really concerned about my niece. What can I do?

  7. Hello! i am a 18 year old and i would do pot only and my parents found out and as a kid i am here to tell you parents what a kid actually wants from his/her parents when it comes to this.
    If you find out that your kid is doing pot or any drugs DO NOT THREATEN THEM OR SHOUT and definitely never tell them that you are never going to let them do it or dont restrict. what happens when you restrict is that we tend to go more towards it and get more inclined to it , and never ever tell them to leave their friends as that will have an even more negative effect because we will not leave our friends, instead we will lie and sneak out or do whatever possible to meet our friends again.
    What you should tell them is that “you know we love you and we do, but we dont like the fact you doing drugs, if you want to do it then do it but if anything serious happens due to the drugs like an accident or any medical conditions then we will not pay or help you out if it is due to you doing drugs”
    it is simple as that, when you give them a choice and tell them what will happen if they continue and tell them that they will be punished with their own actions then that is the time they will stop on their on and through their own will.
    please consider this and help your kids because being harsh or restricting them and lecturing them wont help but will only make it worse and leave them to their lives again because thats what they want, sometimes they maybe quiet or not talk and have a change in behaviour for no reason even without drugs it can happen because everyone changes



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