There are many different ways to deal with drugs & drug abuse, and there are wrong ways & right ones! It depends on how you look at it & handle it!
Many young people experiment with drugs. This is a fact of life. There is no getting away from it; we are a drug using society. Many of us seek a easy way out solution for a variety of conditions both physical and emotional, and alcohol and tobacco use is a big part in our society.
Drugs are used for medical, social or recreational reasons.
With this in mind it is easy to overlook young peoples drug use and certainly research reveals that in some areas over half of 15/16 year olds have used an illegal drug. Latest research findings however reveal a decline in drug use for the same age group in 1998, encouraging news for concerned parents, and those working with young people. We also need to remember that most drug use during adolescence is experimental and not associated with dependence.
Adolescence is a particularly worrying time for parents, and adult fears around drug issues should not be underplayed. How should you, as someone responsible for a young person, prepare yourself to deal with issues which may arise with regard to drug taking? Perhaps the most important point to stress is that as a parent, mentor, or friend you do not need to become an expert on illegal drugs, but what information you do acquire should be as factual and up to date as possible.
There are many myths circulating about drugs and drug use.
Many of these myths are stretched by the media which tends to hype drug use! Well-written, easily accessible and free publications are available such as The Parents Guide To Drugs And Alcohol published by the Health Education Authority (HEA). Local drug agencies often have information for parents, & others and can often work with you if you have concerns or direct you to an appropriate agency.
For many people a handy checklist of signs and symptoms of drug use seems the obvious answer to establish whether or not a young person is in fact using drugs. It is important to remember that whilst you may feel that you know your child really well, once adolescence kicks in, you may be faced with a Jekyll and Hyde character. Changes in behavior could just as easily be associated with the onset of adolescence or a host of other difficulties both physical and emotional.
Behavior changes need to be investigated further before jumping to the conclusion that your child or friend is taking drugs.
The following list of possible signs and symptoms should therefore be used with caution. Do not rely on just one of the signs or symptoms as an indicator of drug use. You need as much evidence as possible before a confrontation or you may end up looking foolish and losing the trust of the young person involved completely.
Some possible signs & symptoms of drug use are; sudden changes or marked swings in mood, loss of interest in school, regular friends, hobbies and activities, unusually aggressive behavior, decline in physical appearance and etc…
What happens if the worst case scenario happens and you find out that a young person has been taking drugs? You, as a friend, mentor, or parent, are likely to experience a wide spectrum of emotions: anger, guilt, fear, disappointment, sadness, all perfectly understandable responses under the circumstances. It is, however, important to get the situation into perspective.
How someone should handle the incident from the onset may determine the quality of relationship you will subsequently have with the young person. Getting angry, lecturing or bombarding them with information is unlikely to achieve much and may even alienate them making further communication impossible.
Far better to choose your moment and your words carefully!
One experimentation can often be nipped in the bud if you take a firm but reasonable approach. This is a lot easier to achieve if you are well informed and can offer logical reasons to back your concerns. A more established pattern of usage requires a consistent and supportive environment. It may also be necessary to respond quickly if you .