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Friend with Abusive Parents/ Drug Abuse

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I have a friend who’s parents found cannabis in his bedroom. Following this discovery they removed him from all outside activity, got him a prescription for large doses of antidepressants and are currently forcing him to take them.  Since he started taking them he’s begun extremely troubling behavior. He has been drinking extremely high doses of cough syrup, ingesting huge amounts of benadryl with hopes of hallucination, taking large doses of snorted painkillers, heavy trazodone use and probably far more that I don’t know about. He recently described feeling like a brick wall after taking his prescribed medications, he described a deep hatred for them and a will to stop taking them, I’ve been asking why he can’t refuse to take them and started to see some of the extent of parental abuse. In the past I’ve witnessed physical abuse from slapping across the face, to emotional abuse of shaming him for being gay and kicking him out of his home. People have tried to get CPS involved to no avail. I am extremely worried about his health and am wondering if a parent can legally force their child to consume prescribed medication, and as a minor if there is anything I can do to help the issue. Thanks in advance. (From USA)

Friend with Abusive Parents/ Drug Abuse

Answered by on -


Your concern for your friend’s well-being is very touching. Caring for the people that matter to us is one of the most important things we can do.

I know you said that child protective services had been called. But sometimes it is important for them to have multiple sources of complaints. I would I would use their hotline to explain what you’ve explained here to them. At the very least it will give them another indication if something’s not right in your friends house.

Next, I would talk to your high school counselor. I would talk about the stress this is bringing to you in hearing about all of this. High school counselors are well versed in understanding these types of issues, and helping together resources.

Again, I admire your desire to help your friend and help the suggestions help.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Friend with Abusive Parents/ Drug Abuse

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Friend with Abusive Parents/ Drug Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 18 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.