Not Sure Where to Begin

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Frazzledmom, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Frazzledmom

    Frazzledmom Guest

    Hi, I've posted recently on the general list about my son who is 15 and in his second year of high school. He's always been quite difficult child-like but doesn't have an official diagnosis other than anxiety via a neuropsychologist exam when he was in the third or fourth grade. We've done ok managing him until about three months ago when he plummeted. He went from an A/B student to failing. He refuses to comply with any rules (and there are very few - probably our worst mistake). He's run away twice since the summer, and threatened several other time. It all points to drug use and in fact he has "admitted" it to us that he's used pot and alcohol.

    Knowing him it could be a few times or a lot but we've seen no definite evidence and he hasn't been caught although he has had opportunity. My question is, what is the next step? We've done a cursory search of his room and found nothing. This must sound so naive to you folks but what are the exact steps if we find something. I don't think he's addicted but we obviously don't support drug use. Our plan currently is to hold his driving license hostage - he's allowed in this state to send for his license in April. We can take away things like cell phone and computer use but I'm not convinced that would stop drug use. Would we go so far as to drug test him? If so, how do you get him tested? He would not do so willingly. He's due to get his wisdom teeth out soon, can we ask that he be drug tested then? What do you do if they turn out positive? Again, this is all new to us so we're lost. I read over and over again that you say they won't change unless they want to. I'd appreciate any thoughts....

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    There are no easy answers to the question "what do we do?". Each of us has to follow our heart and the resources available in our communitites. "Should we go so far as to drug test him?" That questions indicates that you are caught in the quandry of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. You have hard choices to make. Whatever you and your husband decide to do you must make sure that both of you are on the same page. That is probably more important than any other factor. You must both agree that you will do X and be prepared for Y.

    Believe me NONE of us wanted to have to deal with drugs and spiraling behavior patterns. Some reach out to treatment centers, some call the police, almost all of us make sure that our difficult children know that there will be no tolerance for alcohol and drug use. But, just because parents won't tolerate it doesn't mean that the difficult child is going to agree to substance free living or counseling or ???

    Personally we opted to use outpatient substance abuse treatment combined with highly qualified counseling. Later we had to move on to inpatient substance abuse treatment...and then later due to our child's choices law enforcement became involved. You have to choose your path. I can almost guarantee you that if your teen says "I have tried pot and alcohol"
    that really means he/she is a regular user beyond your imagination. Addicts lie. Really nice teen addicts lie like a rug.

    Study the options available with your husband and then set your course. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. One thing for sure is that by doing nothing you will have more tragic results. Hugs DDD
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi...sorry you have to ask these questions. One thing, just because your son is age eligible for his license in April doesnt mean you have to allow him to get it. That is a privilege not a right. You have to agree to that privilege and add him on to your insurance and all sorts of other things. If I thought my kid was using drugs, then heck no, I wouldnt let him get his license.

    In fact, none of my boys got their licenses until they turned 18 because I had some heavy rules for getting a license:
    1:they had to maintain at least a B average so they got the good grade discount.
    2; They had to have a part time job to help offset the cost of insurance and car costs such as gas and wear and tear
    3: They had to prove they were responsible by behaving appropriately.

    None of them even met attempted to try so oh

    You can get a drug test at a drug store or walmart that tests for everything for about $30 bucks. Just pop it on him one day...I would advise Dad do this since you will want to watch him pee. Just have Dad go in with the little cup, tell him he is going to pee in the cup or he isnt leaving the bathroom if it takes all day. His world will simply stop. No food, no tv, no computer, no cell, no nothing until he pees in the cup. Park a chair right in the bathroom door. If he complains, so be it. Tell him if he has nothing to hide, it wont be a problem.

    Now where you go from there is really up to you. You could try local drug programs for teens if only pot shows up...especially if the amount is low. Some places have good places that teens can get together with other teens that want to stay clean but have fun with other kids who dont use drugs. Kind of get them away from bad peer pressure. That can be good for kids who only use pot because its the cool thing to do.

    If its more serious, I would contact mental health because they normally have a substance abuse department attached. You would want to ask about a good outpatient program at first I would think unless he is really into some serious drugs. If he is into much more than pot, then I would consider calling or contacting and talking to them. I believe that is the website for the national website for helping parents talk to their kids about drugs.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. DDD is so right. We have each had to follow our heart and search out what resources were available at the time. It may be a waiting game at this point. If you have no proof he is using then you may need to stay alert for any signs. Bloodshot eyes are a good sign of pot use. We have used the home drug tests but we also found a lab that would test her and give us the results. If she refused the drug test we assumed she was using. We took her car away a year and a half ago when we found an open bottle of alcohol in it. She has not driven it since. She is now 19 and we have to drive her everywhere she goes. Her drug/alcohol use escalated to where she went to rehab this past summer and then outpatient aftercare. We have kicked her out of the house several times and she keeps promising to change. We know she won't. Right now we are trying to get her independent so she can leave our house and be on her own.

    You may have to involve the police if his behavior escalates. We had to call the police several times on our difficult child when she became violent or refused to come home. Every family has to make the choice about what they are going to do. I know some parents who just close their eyes to the problem and others, like us, who have tried everything possible. If your son is caught using drugs/alcohol he will enter the judicial system and then he won't be able to refuse drug testing or treatment.

    I'm sorry you are having to go through this. It is not an easy road to travel.

  5. Frazzledmom

    Frazzledmom Guest

    Thanks so much for your responses. At this point we are keeping a very close eye on him and giving him NO money. I laugh at the blood shot eyes. He is Hispanic and has the most amazing dark brown eyes with almost no whites - I'd have to use a flash light to look at them! The drug free partnership is an amazing resource so thanks for that. Our plan right now is to use the driving license as a carrot and to sit down with our driving limits in writing. At this point I think it's the only thing that will motivate him I'm sure that a big part of this is self-medicating and getting him help for his mental health will be a priority. Getting him to accept and/or use that help will be the challenge. I'm very glad you are all out there.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We have Onyxx's possible license in stasis right now. I have a Mommy-gut feeling she is using again, thinking it's OK because her PO hasn't tested her in a while. The thing is, if you think he is using, there are two possibilities - one that he is, or two, that you're paranoid. Personally? Given what else you've said, I don't think you're paranoid. (Others thought I was paranoid... Until Onyxx failed a drug test.)

    I second the local drugstore. You may have to ask the pharmacist for a drug test. They come in a variety of types; some test for THC (marijuana), others for more. Go for the ones that test for more. Marijuana is a gateway drug.

    Cursory searches of bedrooms do not work. Addicts (especially teens...) know that if they get caught with the stuff in their room, it's over. But if it's in, say, the bathroom, they can say it's not theirs (OK, we don't believe them, but proof...). Check your easy child's room especially. Many other places such as in electrical outlets are popular with these kids too. (Onyxx has a fascination with flat screwdrivers... Outlets tend to have single-line screws...) We've found stuff sandwiched in a pile of DVDs, under the sofa, in the furnace room, stuck up under the sink cabinet... In her bean bag... And especially in her brother's room. You have to be creative, here. I know we haven't found everything...

    Another possibility is to contact law enforcement, tell them your concerns and request a drug dog. This can be met with mixed results... We're still on a waiting list from summer.

    Last, but not least - HUGS. I know how you feel. Onyxx is almost 16, but far from being an adult.