Parents can provide the best protection children have against drug abuse. However, peer pressures and other outside influences can often undermine your best parenting efforts. Indications that your child may be involved with drugs include the following:
- Don't-care attitude
- Resistance to discipline
- Temper flare-ups
- New associations
- Poor school work
- Lack of stamina
- Poor personal appearance and hygiene, e.g., watery and sunken eyes, poor complexion, weight loss, etc.
- Need of money or unexplained affluence
- Withdrawal from family events
- Frequent absences from home
- Missing items in home
Parents can get a great deal of information on drug prevention, abuse, intervention, treatment, and recovery from The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The parenting toolkit provides advice by age and tips on understanding teens, connecting with and protecting your kids, spotting drug and alcohol use, and helping if they are using. It is estimated that children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not.
Many children are now using inhalants and prescription drugs instead of illegal ones. Parents need to keep their prescription pain killers, cough syrup, and other over-the-counter drugs locked away out of their children’s reach. They should also do the following:
- Monitor their children’s use of the Internet for visits to illegal online pharmacies and use of social media outlets to make connections and set up drug deals.
- Examine their credit card and bank statements for drug purchases, and text messages for indications of drug use.
- Search their rooms for drug paraphernalia, including tinfoil, hollowed-out pens, lighters, hose clamps, syringes, and spoons.
- Download and read the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guide entitled Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Abuse Medicines. Click on Prevent and then select the tool entitled Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse. This website has a great deal of other information of use to parents.
- Be a parent, not a friend or enabler.
- Dispose of prescription drugs properly. There are bins for them at all Sheriff’s stations and a few SDPD Area Stations. Do not flush them down the toilet. That poses a threat to the environment.