please help. Suspect my step daughter is using drugs

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by dlmc1227, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. dlmc1227

    dlmc1227 New Member

    My step daughter goes to college and lives about 5 hours away from us. About a week ago my husband & I went to see her. We went to dinner & while we were deciding what to order, she went to the bathroom & was gone about 10 mins. When she came back she was very angry & started an argument with me. She asked me why I was such a bi*ch. At this point I noticed her pupils were extremely dilated so I ask her why they were. She became even angrier, stood up & shoved the table into my stomach. Needless to say things got worse after that. My husband asked her if she was using drugs & she admitted she experiments and that its her body & none of my business. My husband asked her to elaborate on what drugs she is experimenting with. She has convinced him that she uses adderal on occasion & smokes refer once in awhile. I am not convinced that's all she's doing. I am not familiar with a lot of drugs but dont believe adderal would have caused dialated pupils or the angry/violent behavior I saw. I am nervous about how she might behave next time I see her. My husband wants to believe that's all she's doing. On a side note, she does do good in school....please help. Not sure how to handle the situation.
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our group, although I'm very sorry you have had to find your way here. It's good that you saw her change in behavior firsthand and are jumping on this now before it turns into something worse. I'm quoting something here I found on the abuse of adderall:

    Many people who abuse Adderall snort the drug in order to intensify the high. Snorting or injecting the drug delivers it to the bloodstream in a more concentrated manner, compared to swallowing a tablet. Drug abusers also believe that because it is a prescription drug for children, it's safer to abuse Adderall than drugs like cocaine or speed. This is, of course, not true, as prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs.

    "When snorting Adderall, side effects include respiratory problems, such as the destruction of the nasal and sinus cavities and lung tissue. Drug abusers can develop irregular heartbeats, problems with circulation, psychotic episodes, increased aggression and toxic shock. Prolonged use can cause developmental problems with the brain, negative changes in brain activity, and severe withdrawal problems like depression, psychosis, restlessness and agitation. Abusing the drug can also be fatal."

    The above was taken from but you can do a google search and find a lot of information on adderall abuse.

    How old is your step daughter? Is your husband paying for her tuition? I think you are right to be concerned that this could signal other drug use or escalate into that at some later point. Is she going to be coming home for Christmas break where you can assess her behavior over a longer period of time? You and her dad have every right to be concerned about her behavior and possoble drug use. If you don't care who will? If it were my daughter (and it was four years ago) I would tell her that if she wanted us to continue paying her tuition she needed to submit to a drug test. Her abrubt change in behavior and her agressiveness toward you is not normal.
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome. I think that Nancy gave you great advice. At the very least, I think you and your husband should tell her that her behavior was inappropriate and you will not allow her to treat you that way. Warn her that in the future, you and your husband will simply leave if she treats you like that again.

    You can't control someone else's behavior but you can control your response to that behavior and refuse to let it happen again.

    Keep posting and let us know how things go.

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. You will get advice from alot of us but one thing that is terribly important is trying to get on the same page with your husband. If the two of you are united there is a chance for positive results. It is not easy to get to that point. More often than not the Dad's want to believe that any problems are minimal and miraculously the child will decide to focus on school, church, volunteer work and frequent visits with Mom and Dad. :fingerscrossed: Sadly it gets really complicated and stressful.

    Read not only the new posts in S.A. but also old ones. It will provide an overview of how other caring parents have proceeded. You will pick up some good ideas and you will sadly read some posts where everything went wrong even with the brightest most wonderful families. That will help you realize you and your husband are not alone and that usually there is not one quick answer. If you are catching the problem early and get on the same parental page there is hope. Post often just to stay in touch and get more comfortable. It will help for sure. Hugs DDD
  5. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    My daughter told me that Adderall was her gateway to crystal meth. My daughter also did very well in school but would have sudden angry outbursts. Her behavior definitely suggests that she is using an upper...I am so sorry...
  6. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    My oldest daughter was pilfering her younger sister's Adderall (they were 23 and 20 respectively). Then older daughter got severely hooked on crystal meth. She was very thin, edgy, and non-productive. We found a letter on the hard drive of her computer we were fixing in which she was trying to get her boyfriend back, who dumped her because of her drug use. We did a gentle intervention, outpatient, but ultimately failed. She then got arrested for shoplifting a pair of sunglasses, and she had more than enough money on her to pay for it. She then somehow got her car searched and they found a pipe, Adderall, and the meth. Of course, she said they weren't hers. Yeah. I told her this wasn't my first trip to the rodeo. We bailed her out, got her a lawyer, and this man probably saved her life. He said "She's got undiagnosed ADD of some type. Get her help, I'll help get her out of the legal mess." Which was what happened.

    Your step daughter may be in over head experimenting, or she may be self-medicating. But in the end, she has to recognize that she has a problem before she'll get better. Hugs to you. My daughter is doing great now, but in the middle of it all, I was terrified, angry, hurt, confused, and probably a thousand other things.
  7. The problem with Adderall if she has a prescription for it is that the body’s need for the medication changes during childhood and the transformation to adulthood. She might have needed it when she was a teenager. Now it only boosts her temper negatively or positively during school. It has changed from contributing to healing to be a kind of doping. It is often used by people who need to work for many hours like people in the media industry.

    If she has prescription for it she needs to be re-evaluated. Otherwise she might end up using an entire month or even two within 10 years in a kind of rehab-facility. We had a co-worker who realized that her behavior had to change after having been very moody for 10 years. In her early 30's she went to rehab and has been the nicest person since. It was total change of personality.
  8. dlmc1227

    dlmc1227 New Member

    Thank you all for great advise. My husband won't even talk about this with me. My step daughter has told him she never wants to see me again & he is giving into her & will be spending Christmas with her. She gets the adderall from a friend and claims she only takes it once in awhile so she has energy to clean her appartment. He believes everything she says because she gets good grades so how can she be using drugs right? He thinks I'm blowing this out of proportion.
  9. dlmc1227

    dlmc1227 New Member

    My step daughter is 20 by the way & has hated me since her dad & I got together 5 years ago. Back then she would swear at him all the time & get rude with me. He excused her saying "she only gets like that when she's on her period". I told him it was unacceptable behavior & made him take her cell phone away every time she acted that way. He couldn't handle her outbursts and even though I tried to convince him she needed counseling, he just shipped her back to live with her mom. I think she blames me for that. She has also gotten into huge fights with her mom & step dad.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Personally (as an experienced stepmom) I would detach from the situation. Your husband is not going to "take your side" even if he knows or fears in his heart that you are right. Yes, I know it doesn't sound supportive but it really is. You truthfully can not win on this issue, in my humble opinion, and therefore should leave the ball in your husband's court and be ready to give support whan and if he asks for it. Sorry. DDD
  11. Unfortunately as a step-parent you are points behind handling this case. The call is your husbands. He needs to make her understand that she uses a kind of doping to get her high grades and once she graduates and meets the pressure of her new job her habits will make her fall right back into drug-use unless she seriously gets into counseling aimed at stopping her drug-use.

    He cannot pressure her. He needs to convince her. Otherwise rehab would be waste of money. Another issue is the legal one. In some states buying medicine can result in a hard sentence – much too hard considering the results of the crime if you ask me. In Florida people can conduct house invasions and get easier off than the people trading prescription medication. Check the legal situation out and use it as an argument to wake your husband.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, the sad part here is that Adderall, which kids chop into pillcrushers and snort, is not a benign drug nor is it used alone often. It's companion drug is normally cocaine. My daughter did this until she moved on to meth.

    I do not think you should have to be around her in her abuse. And if you were her parent I would question the purpose of sending her to college (unless it is on HER dime). She isn't going to do well in college if she is using drugs. But she is your stepdaughter, although an adult, and I would not allow her to treat me that way, even if your husband wants to think she is "only doing it because...."

    I say let your husband spend Christmas alone with her. But I'd have to ponder, if it were me, the state of my marriage. It is not uncommon for fathers and mothers to choose kids over their spouses, however, she is clearly in the wrong here and in my opinion he should take up for YOU. She's not a little girl who needs her daddy. The best thing he can do for her is to encourage her to make good choices and not excuse disrespect for any reason.

    Hugs. I'm so sorry. Take care of YOURSELF first so that you don't get overly caught up in Step daughter's drama. Maybe see a therapist to see where you want to go from here. What a hard job you have!
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM, you should not have to be around her abuse. While I understand that your husband wants to maintain a relationship with her, he should not allow her to treat you with disrespect. I don't know if she is using adderall to get better grades or she is experimenting with drug use for recreational purposes. Whichever it is, it could lead to far more serious drug use.

    It took my husband a long time to admit that our daughter was abusing drugs/alcohol. He wanted to keep the peace and not confront. He finally came around and could deny it no longer. I hope your husband does the same soon.
  14. dlmc1227

    dlmc1227 New Member

    Thank you everyone. I haven't brought the situation up with my husband to avoid fighting & am so glad I have you guys to talk too. For everyone who asked, her college is pretty much funded by grants. Her mom doesn't work much so my step daughter is allowed to use her mom's lack of income to basically get a free education. (Her mom doesn't have to count the $2,000 a month she gets for child support). My step daughter just recently got a job so she can have money for her study abroad trip to France. My husband gave her $1,000 as well for the trip. I tried to tell him by giving her cash all the time (he gives her money every month), that he's helping her buy drugs. He doesn't see it that way. I'm going to take your great advise & try to let it go. I know she is pressuring my husband to divorce me. I saw her text to him that said "I hope you aren't with her much longer" I am going to focus on the marriage and the happiness we've shared the past 5 years. Fighting with him about this will push him away & I love him too much to lose him.....I agree with the one poster who said Adderall is usually used with other drugs. From the way she acted & the size of her pupils that night, I'm having a hard time believing that was caused by adderall.