My son is doing drugs in college, he doesn't know that I know.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Baltimoredad, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Baltimoredad

    Baltimoredad New Member

    My son is in his second semester of college. He spent the first semester abroad. Today I found out that he is using drugs. He has befriended a very wealthy young man that we found out has had a drug problem in the past. He has been arrested and is on probation. I was reading his sent messages (email) and he described in detail the laundry list of drugs that he had been using. (Marijuana, ecstasy, heroin and snorting ridilin, to name a few). He wrote this email to a girl that he likes and basically says that he is stopping the drugs because he has decided to get his "****" together. He even said that he has asked his friend to drug test him. He did say that he continues to drink alcohol. We have 3 weeks before he returns home to us. I don't know what to do during these three weeks. I know that if I confront him via telephone, he will shut down and I feel that I may lose him. (Meaning he will not come home and figure out how to live on his own). He has shut me out pretty much completely this whole semester. I know now why this has happened and I suspected something was wrong, but everyone kept telling me it was normal behavior for kids being away for the first time on their own. I am scare to death. Please help me figure out where to begin.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Use this information to watch and make sure he realy did get off drugs. And never mention it aloud.....unless he still uses and things get worse.

    One thing I learned is sometimes you are better off not knowing some things. In this case, I am glad you are aware....but only so you can monitor without him knowing. Someday you may have to reveal your awareness of his drug use, but only if it becomes an addiction.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome.

    Did he ever use drugs before he went away to college? Although some posters, who are my dear friends on this site, disagree with me, I think that living away from home at college definitely encourages kids, who are still pretty young and are surrounded by nothing but their peers, to try things they wouldn't have done before. Or maybe ever. This weekend my daughter, who is almost seventeen and very straight, went to visit a friend at college with a few of her very straight arrow friends. She was visiting a straight arrow kid too. It was in Oshkosh WI. She came home and said her friend doesn't really like Oshkosh because "there is nothing to do here unless you party." She doesn't. There IS a small group s he hangs with who don't party, but a college dorm is a college dorm and your kid has to be strong. How are your son's grades? Who is paying for college? If I'm footing the bill, then I feel it is my right to know if I'm spending my money wisely. This also includes car insurance and cell phone.

    You may not liike my advice, but I'm the sort of parent who is close to my kids, but willing to confront them even if it will tick them off. I think you need to have a conversation with your son and, if you are paying for his college, take away your financial support if he isn't clean and doing well in his classes. You don't have to be a biotch about it, but just speak matter-of-factly. If he actually won't come home because you want him to live a healthy, safe life, he is probably more involved in drugs than you know and he needs help, not money for college because he isn't going to finish college. And the money you send him will probably go for drugs. If he really wants college, he can go to a local college and live at him while following your rules such as no drugs or coming home drunk.

    How you handle this is individual. My daughter got no more money from us once we knew. She did get her own job, and worked even while high as a kite. Finally, we had to make her leave because her drug use was affecting the younger kids and the cops kept stopping by, scaring all of us except her. She quit...once she was living elsewhere. The stories she tells us about her drug days make me glad that at least we didn't give her money to help her almost kill herself. If your son has a drug problem, in my opinion that issue should come first. College can always happen later. My daughter went back to school an d now has a good job and a house. But she had to quit the drugs first.

    I'm really sorry you are dealing with this. It's so incredibly scary. I do recommend going to a Narc--Anon meeting to talk to others who are in your shoes or have been in your shoes in real time. That helped me...SAVED my sanity...when I was going through it and they gave me spine I wouldn't otherwise have had.

    Gentle hugs.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I also found out a lot about my daughter's drug use by reading her email and facebook messages. It may not have been the right thing to do but it was the only way I could stay aware of what was going on. But a word of caution, don't let him know you read this. It will put a wedge between you and trust me all it will do is make him go underground. Instead, use this knowledge to monitor the situation closely when he gets home and at least you are aware of what is going on so you can react quickly.

    Let's hope that this was just an experimental thing, being away from home at college for the first time, being abroad, testing his independence. Hopefully when he gets back home he will be true to his word and get his act together. If not you can gather evidence on yoru own without disclosing what you read.

    From a mom who had a very rough time with her daughter during those post high school years, I truly hope you both get through this unscathed.
  5. kennedyland

    kennedyland New Member

    I'd take a more direct action. I'd let him know that you know about the drug use and that your there to help him. I don't like secrets. I'd lay it all out there. No games. Don't let fear guide you. Be straightforward, be clear, and be supportive. Let him know that coming home will be a positive step. Then, go to ALANON to take care of yourself. None of this will be easy, however, if he is serious about wanting help, let him know you are there.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Amen, amen, amen.

    This kid has said he's tried heroin. If so (and my daughter tried it too) it has to be stopped before he becomes addicted to it. Heroin has made a huge comeback and is no longer just in the "bad" part of town.

    I did not want to watch my daughter die on my dime. My biggest fear was that she would not make it. I would cut off his money supply not as a punishment but as a way to try to diminish how much drugs he could buy. I did not want to be any part of my daughter's poor outcome. She had to totally change her environment to quit using.

    Hugs, whatever you decide to do.
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Those are some pretty hardcore drugs for simple experimentation. Most kids don't start with heroin. Experimentation to me is pot and alcohol.

    I would be very worried, also. Like the others said, now that you have this knowledge you can be on the alert. I would insist on rehab if you find out any of this is still ongoing. My daughter overdosed on heroin in one of her first attempts at using it. She had a long history or alcohol and substance abuse before she got to the point of using heroin, though. My husband found her unresponsive on the couch in the nick of time and was able to keep her alive using chest compressions until the EMT's could get there and take over.

    Keep posting. We are here for support.

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  8. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Member

    Use this time to educate yourself.

    Insure your valuables, including items easily pawned, are secure. Lock up alcohol and drugs. If he is going to use a common computer, install a keylogger.

    however, remember addicts are all liars. They lie about using and about not using.

    His school may have someone in their counseling area who can give you some advice. I suggest that as I'm sure they have seen this before.

    do you have access to his grades? Any way to know if he has been in trouble with the school?

    *are you and his mom on the same page? A united front is a must.

    if he has an iPhone on your account, see if you can get him to turn on find my iphone. You need that if lost or stolen as AppleCare won't pay. Then you can track phone easily without him knowing.

    i realize that this may sound like overkill but better to lay ground work now than wish you had.

    keep posting!
  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    AmericanGirl gives good advice.

    I would start by mining his school's website for anyone who can help you navigate these difficult waters. My difficult child's school was less than helpful, but my PC18s school has many resources for parents in your (our) shoes. Had I known that difficult child's school would complicate things, I might have reached out to someone in the student wellness department or even at their Newman community (we're Catholic) there instead of the Dean. Or I would have contacted a ATOD counselor in the college town. I would get as much professional advice as you can. Seek a counselor in your area to help you deal with the fallout and to help your son. Call your son's pediatrician or family doctor and ask for advice. Even his HS guidance counselor or school social worker. In retrospect, I think if we had confronted our difficult child in a counselor's office it may have gone better. I also think we needed options, we had now idea how he might react and it never dawned on us that he would storm out. It caught us completely off guard. I found this board that very night, because I was so shell shocked and had no idea what I should do next.

    I was in your very shoes and I blew it. My son started using drugs, drinking in college. He went from being a straight A HS student who was very close to us to being a C-, unmotivated kid on the slide, who lied about everything. His first night home after freshman year, he came home stoned. He was insolent and secretive all summer, culminating in him renting an off campus apartment for his sophomore year without our knowledge. We tried to go with the flow, chalked it up to normal growing pains. The day he was to go back to school, I spied an internet order of a large quantity of marijuana paraphernalia and we confronted him and told him we could not support sending him back to school. He left anyway-completely shocking us - and we were estranged for over a year. He subsequently failed out of school and the bitter, 18 month estrangement was the hardest and most heartbreaking time in my life. Things are better now, but still not terrific, he is 21 and back home, a college dropout with limited options and I am not sure where our relationship will go or how his future will pan out. In a lot of ways, confronting him threw him from the frying pan into the fire. I had no idea it would end that way. Now, I am not sure that any other approach would have worked better, but now is the time to get your ducks in a row.

    Keep posting...

    Edited to add * also, if you have custodial accounts - bonds, childhood savings accounts etc, in your name or his name, now is the time to empty them and stow the money for safe keeping. My son liquidated the savings account we had started for him as a child, and it fueled his misbehavior and his separation from us. Sneaky, but also consider putting a credit alert on his credit history as though you are him. Yes, it's illegal to assume his identity for those reasons, but it will slow down his ability to get instant credit and all is fair at this point. The Dean of Students at my difficult child's school pointed him towards the Credit Union and a student Visa credit card to fund his independence... ugh.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 9, 2013
  10. Detoxcenter

    Detoxcenter New Member

    I agree with nancy. Don't let him know about this at first. Just wait for him till he gets home and tells you the truth himself. As mention he wants to leave the drugs, so just try to help him indirectly like telling him a short story examples occasionally like drugs can ruin ones life. Just don't overdo it. Hope i helped.