I need some advice on opiates addicted 24yr son

Most of my son's story is posted at the parent emeritus forum and i tried and failed to post a link. However, same old and similar to many of the kids who has brought others here. Son's marijuana use altered his life with arrests, probation violations, etc. I posted almost one year ago today about his relapse after being sober for almost a year.
a few weeks after, i took away the car i had consigned and kicked him out of the house. After two months out, due to pressure from family and my willingness to give him another chance, when son called to plead with me to return to the house under conditions i gave in. He got a job within a week,gave me half of his salary every week and never gave me any trouble. He even tested clean when i tested him. But the honeymoon was short. While he had been out, he met a girl who seemed really nice, respectful and worked very hard at a restaurant, sometimes even more than 50 hours a week. Unbeknownst to me is the fact that she was also recovering from opiates and was on methadone, and i thought it would be unfair to judge this girl while son is also an addict.

But, i was being taken for a fool. While son was not/or was using, even though he tested clean, he was acting as a broker to one of the girl's male friend. The guy is a naive opiates addict and he needed pills though didn't know where to get them(had a white color job), so son served as the pills finder and got a commission. Well, that didn't last long because both and girlfriend were stopped in guy's car and arrested for possession. That was in February. His girlfriend's father bailed them out. I refused to pay for an attorney and has never gone to any court hearings.

Since then, son has maintained the job, doesn't go anywhere when he is not working except hang out with girlfriend. The reason i need help is because i just found out son has been abusing opiates together with girlfriend. He broke up with her on Wednesday(according to him) and wants to go to detox, then go back to meetings and therapy. I feel stupid because i didn't see any signs of the opiates use because son was doing almost everything asked of him. Even his health looks good. I have been able to do my life regardless but now i am being sucked in and don't know what to do.

Last night, when son told me about his opiates use, he asked if i could help him buy some pills so he wouldn't feel sick from withdrawal while waiting for a detox bed(his insurance only covers very limited detox facilities), but i refused. So this morning when i left him in the house, he was feeling really bad but i didn't feel the need to do anything. I am leaving everything up to him to get help this time. I am not kicking him out but i am not willing to pay for anything especially not pills but i don't know whether i am doing the right thing.

If you read this far, thanks and if you have any kind of advice, i would be glad to hear it.


Well-Known Member
This is what my daughter who quit drugs told me and I think it's true.

Users hang with users. You are not serious about quitting unless you dump every using friend. She moved out of state and cut contact with everyone she knew. Nobody knew where she had gone.

She totally changed her life and was VERY lonely until she met her new boyfriend (now it's been twelve years).

It is a bad sign if the user hangs with users the person can't quit unless he cuts that degree of temptation.

I am so sorry. We cut off everything from daughter and made her leave. That's what I think works the best for drug addicts so it is my advice. I don't really believe anything else works. We can't help them. They have to figure it out themselves. Never give him cash. He will use it for his habit. He will only quit when it's too horrible not to. My daughter said,"It's too hard to use drugs."
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Don't feel like a failure as a parent. I'm sure you did your best with your children as most on this forum have done. Sometimes THEY choose to take the wrong road. We are left feeling like we've been hit by a fast moving train.

We've been dealing with this with our son for five years now. We've done everything known to man to get him to turn his life around but nothing has worked. Coming to this forum made me see it's really up to HIM.

I certainly would not buy your son pills either. I don't think he can die from withdrawal from that drug but I am not sure. Others on here do know. I think it's good that HE wants to go to detox and rehab.

Don't feel like a fool. Our addicts are very good at what they do and it's sometimes impossible to tell if they are using something.

I would not let him live with you any longer if that is an option. You deserve to have a peaceful home and not have to be second guessing all the time. Our son left in March and he's still trying to figure it out. I hope he eventually does. I now like going home after work and don't have constant anxiety over what he may do next.

Take care of yourself!


Well-Known Member
My concern is that opiate using often leads to using heroin because heroin is less expensive. So, it's possible your son will try heroin and that is highly addictive and extremely hard to quit. The easier you make it for him the easier it will be for him to use his job money for drugs. You are not a failure. Addicts are products of their choices. Not ours. Definitely not ours! So, my sad advice to you is to tell him to move out as long as he's using or support him in going to rehab. There is hope if he chooses to change his ways and his friends like Somewhere said.

in a daze

Well-Known Member
If he's waiting for a detox bed, I suppose he could stay with you until it opens up.

But after that, I think rehab and then sober living would be best.

He can still work, at least while he's in the sober living.

Yeah, having them home never seems to work out that well. If he's home, it should be temporary.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moving home is taking a step backward for those in recovery. A 24-year-old man should be working and providing for his own needs and wants. I can't think of a single case on the SA forum where moving home worked out.

My daughter really wanted (and still wants) to move home. When we had our family weekend at one of her inpatient stays, the therapist said that the recommended follow up was definitely not moving home. He said that our daughter needed to learn how to be a sober adult and that did not include moving back to her childhood home.

I wouldn't have bought the pills either. He can always go to the ER if the withdrawal gets bad enough and they will find him a detox to go to if it is life threatening. I cannot even imagine feeding his addiction by getting him more pills.

After that, I would tell him to find a rehab and/or sober living house where he can work on recovery and find a job.


Sister's Keeper

Active Member
Don't worry about his health re: detox. Opiate detox sucks. It's miserable and uncomfortable, but it isn't life threatening. He will be sick as a dog, but he will live.

I wouldn't buy him any pills, either.

It is possible he was abusing his girlfriend's methadone. I don't think methadone shows up on a standard urine drug screen, it has to be tested for specifically.


Well-Known Member
Kathy, im glad you said it first. The people I read about who quit, in my memory, ALL were out of the home, most were homeless at one time. I also cant think of a single time when moving home was helpful in addiction. But I thought maybe I was not remembering right.

I dont recall paying rent or buying them cars or anything like that doing anything other than giving them help to use their drugs. That's why I suggested making life hard for them. And for all those who worry about their kids eating, drug addicts dont eat much. Save for pot, I believe most drugs kill the appetite. There are always ways to get food if they want to eat, just like there are always ways to find drugs if the person wants to use.

I never think an addict going home or getting financial support does anything other than fund the addiction. And, yes, it is horrifying to hear your beloved child telling you that she will hate you forever for
abandoning her. I had so much guilt and second thoughts, but in the end, she did it. She did it because "its too hard to take drugs."

That's a long drop to rock bottom and it goes against our nature as parents to remove all our support except our love. And they may be too angry to give a rat's about our love when we stop enabling the habit.

But I'm glad me, my husband and my ex decided to do it. We have a fine young woman now. She could have died.


Active Member
I think you are doing wonderful - doing all the right things!

And I think your son is doing a pretty good job too. What I would add if possible would be regular drug testing. If he fails... OUT HE GOES PERIOD! If he passes, then he stays.


Well-Known Member
It's not hard to pass a drug test. There are drugs that get you wasted and are dangerous but don't show up. That's the problem with drug testing, although it will rule out drugs that DO show up.


Active Member
I can tell you from experience that, while unbelievably uncomfortable, opiate detox alone wont kill him. It isn't like benzos or alcohol, which carry a risk for seizure when stopped cold turkey. We may feel like death, or even wish for death when in withdrawal, but it wont kill him.

Do you believe he is actually going to go to detox when a spot opens up? Many doctors will prescribe a short term supply to carry the addict for a fews days to a week or two. Just to keep them off the street, where they run the risk of death, or arrest. Which doesn't help a whole lot if he really wants to detox and begin his recovery. They will usually write for a handful of Methadone, or something similar, to hold over.

Not saying you should go out and score narcotics for him, because you shouldn't. It is very illegal, and not worth the risk. Maybe you can find him a doctor who is willing to help him out for however long it will take to find a bed at a detox facility. If not, and it takes more than a few days, there will be no real point in going to detox. Detox facilities aren't addiction treatment facilities. They serve ONLY to detox an addict, and that's it. After completing a detox, they are sent elsewhere, where they are equipped to start treating the underlying problems. Most opiate pain medications have a half life of 24-32 hours. This means that, every day or so, half of the drug leaves your system. I was taking around 300mg of oxycodone a day. I also have a very fast metabolism. So, after 24 hours, I would have 150mg in my system. A day later, 75mg, so on until the drug is gone. This means that detox generally lasts less than a week. If it is going to take him longer than a week to get into detox, he should either find a doctor to hold him over, or just do this part on his own. It wont kill him. It will be beyond uncomfortable for him, and anybody around him, though.

Withdrawal symptoms include an inability to maintain body temperature. So he will go from freezing solid one minute, to sweating like crazy the next. This is part of why sleeping is impossible during withdrawal. He will be incredibly woozy, and sickly. He will vomit up just about anything he eats or drinks. He will become VERY light headed just from standing up, to the point of almost blacking out. His eyes and nose will become constantly moist. He will sneeze and yawn a lot. Whenever he lays down, he will experience what we call restless legs. It is a very strange sensation, and not an easy one to describe. It is the main reason why sleep will be impossible. It is an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, but only while resting. You don't experience it while standing up, and usually not when sitting down. Just when laying. It doesn't matter how tired you are, either. I would spend all night walking in circles, or working my legs out in an effort to make it stop, and it never does. It just made it more painful. This is the single worst symptom of all, as it makes sleep literally not possible. This is where we get the term
kicking the habit".

That's about what he will experience. He will experience some symptoms more than others, but he will feel all of these to some extent. Knowing your son, do you think he will be able to stand that for 3-6 days?

so ready to live

Well-Known Member
So this morning when i left him in the house, he was feeling really bad but i didn't feel the need to do anything. I am leaving everything up to him to get help this time.
This seems strong and right. No advice, just hang in there. We feel your pain and sorrow. Keep posting.
SWOT thank you for above post. It encourages me and gives me hope today.
Darkwing-I so pray my son could/would go through that all--just to be clean on the other side.
I apologize for taking a while to reply, but i very much appreciate everyone's input. Right after i posted here, he called to say that he had received a call from one of the detox places he had been in touch with that morning and there was a bed available. So i took some time off from work to take him since he didn't have any other way to get there. When i got home he tried again to get money from me to buy pills but i stood my ground. He was really suffering and it was hard to watch but reasoned if he was serious about detox then he wouldn't be looking for a last minute fix. He wanted to see his cousin for a few minutes before we left(big lie) and it took him two hours to get back and by then i was fuming because i wanted to go back to work afterwards. I patiently waited but as soon as we got into the car, all the emotions i felt came rushing out and i cried so hard which led him to say, "mom i am so sorry that i have caused you so much pain, i never meant any of this to happen." I lost a nephew - 10 years old just this week and i think i needed a good cry. Sadly i said many things that i regret but i made it clear that he is not coming back to the house under any pretense of outpatient recovery, told him i didn't want him to call me until he has a plan for getting clean. So far he hasn't called. The detox lasts 6 days so we'll see what he does.

I really can't believe we are back to square one after six years of total waste. My head hurts just thinking that now he has graduated to Oxycontin.I feel very sad for him and what could have been. I hope all is not lost and he will find his way back.


Well-Known Member
Oh Enough, what a sad day for you.

When i got home he tried again to get money from me to buy pills but i stood my ground. He was really suffering and it was hard to watch but reasoned if he was serious about detox then he wouldn't be looking for a last minute fix.

I agree with this.

He wanted to see his cousin for a few minutes before we left(big lie) and it took him two hours to get back
I am suspicious that he might have been trying to get a last fix in another way.

I patiently waited but as soon as we got into the car, all the emotions i felt came rushing out and i cried so hard which led him to say, "mom i am so sorry that i have caused you so much pain, i never meant any of this to happen."
Enough, you certainly had a good cry coming. I am so sorry for your pain. I am glad you were able to HAVE a good cry. I think too that maybe this is something he needed to hear, to understand that this doesn't affect just him.

What support are you getting for yourself, Enough? Please be especially good to yourself today.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Glad he went to detox. Hopefully this time he can beat it.

I feel your frustration. I am there too. My son relapsed after 4 months of being clean while in sober living in Florida - 1500 miles away from us. Met a girl who has a mom that has lots of pills. Go figure out of all the girls he could meet. He overdosed and could have died.

Now he's complaining about being in PHP again. Like you, I don't want to hear from him until he really has "changed". It's hard to be supportive and protect yourself. I have not found that sweet spot yet but am searching. I don't want to not talk to him at all because of the support part but I don't know what else to do.


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So sorry Enough! Your words made me cry, I remember driving my son to rehab in tears as well. Don't give up, there's hope! It's good he's there!


Well-Known Member
Hadenough, you have gotten good advice. People have laid it out. I would take heart. You are doing everything right in a situation that is totally wrong--that no mother should have to navigate. I am mad at your son. He should not have put his mother in that horrible situation to go get pills for him to quiet his suffering.No mother should have had to endure that.

And to most likely deceive you and make you wait--while it seems like he got that one last high--that was wrong too. To leave you there waiting with your heart in your mouth.
I hope all is not lost and he will find his way back.
All is not lost. He can find his way back. What he will decide, will not be known until he makes his recovery a reality over months and then years.

He deceived you and most of all he deceived himself by living a double life. How I hate for you that he was procuring for that professional person. He will be at a choice point, but you are not. You seem very, very clear about your role and what you need.

Now is the time to build yourself up by doing every single thing you can think of to be healthy, safe, nourished and nurtured-by you. You have gone through an experience that was as if an assault on your essence. I am glad you came back to us and I hope you stay. We really care.

Now it is time for your story to take precedence. Your son now has responsibility for his own. Take care.

Not what i was hoping for. My son's detox was ending today. He called for the first time yesterday since he got there to let me know and ask whether i could give him a ride to come home. I asked him whether he had talked to the facility which also operates a 30 day rehab, to get in the program and his response was that yes he did and was waiting for a response today, but he also said that he didn't think going to rehab would help him because he knows what to do and that it was his choice to get clean and he believes he could do it at home with meetings. I tried reasoning with him that it didn't work before so what makes this time any different? He thinks me controlling what he ought to do is not helping either.

Well, i told him my feelings were that he had a problem and my hope was he would get into treatment. So we went back forth and eventually i told him that i am not comfortable having him at home because nothing will change since we have been there before. He got irritated and said if that was the case then he was going to talk to his pal A and see if he could stay with them. A is the friend whom he stayed with last year when i kicked him out. His roommate sells marijuana.

Towards the end of the conversation, i told him to do what he feels is right for him and leave me out of it because i was tired of the stress he has brought into my life all these years. We agreed he was going to call this morning to let me know what he was going to do and i hang up the phone thinking he was done but apparently not because i heard him say i love you mum but i didn't get a chance to say i loved him too. That made me sad because despite everything i still love my son.

It is 2.38pm our time and he hasn't called. I tried to call his phone earlier to check whether it was open and the girlfriend picked up. Fortunately i used *67 so she doesn't know whether it was me, although i wish i didn't because now i know that they either got back together before he left for detox or he got out this morning and she picked him up. Either way, nothing good can come out of their reunion, but nothing i can do.