When a parent finds out their teen has been experimenting with drugs, it can be a huge shock. Knowing what to do for the best, next steps and how to help your child can be very confusing. Finding out how other parents have dealt with this can be reassuring. Read more about the following brave parents and the traumatic experiences they have dealt with since their children started taking drugs.
Living in turmoil
"From a truly delightful child, loving son and brother, he was the most caring and kind son any mother could have wished for; we all adored him. Now our lives are a roller coaster; never knowing what he is up to and never truly trusting him. He does'’t seem to care about anything or anyone, least of all himself. From being healthy, good looking and sociable, he is now thin, spotty and reclusive. It has been the most heart-breaking experience in all my life to see my beloved son gripped by the evils of drugs, not to mention the associated lying and deceitfulness that also came with his habits.
"My guess, in hindsight, is that he started using drugs as young as 15 - he is now 30 - and once again we have become aware that he is using, and not 'just weed' as he has always maintained in order to keep us quiet. A few years ago we found out that he was using crack; I now feel sure he is smoking heroin. The feeling of helplessness is unbearable, I feel sick with worry - I want my son back. I wonder if any drug user was given their life back again, would they have smoked that first 'harmless' spliff?"
"My son takes drugs, cocaine being his favourite. I have done the tough love bit and thrown him out. However, he stops taking it for a while and gives me the false hope that he is ok now. He comes back home and is the model son for weeks. Then it starts again. Little by little the arrogance appears again, chipping away at me. Saturday night he kicked in my front door. I have to, once again, take a deep breath and be strong. I have given him a date for getting his own place and said I will call the police should anything like this happen again.
"The addiction does not just attack the person taking the drug. It whittles away at the people around them who care. I too am at risk of losing all my friends and family who can only take so much of my needing help. You drug addicts leave the ones around you feeling the despair, loneliness and lack of hope your addiction gives you. I mourn the death of the son I once had. I look to the son he was with hope. I am at risk of losing my friends, my family and my home for a drug I don’t even take. With regret, I find I have to say enough is enough."
Off the rails
"She hates me, her dad and her brother. She puts her brother down all the time saying he won't do well at school. She upsets her grandparents and she just laughs. I have done everything for her, she has never helped around the house; all her washing and ironing is done for her. We buy everything for her, but she doesn't agree with house rules. She thinks she can stay out all-night without letting us know. She would rather hang round the streets drinking, or in one of her boyfriend's friend's houses, who is a known drug dealer.
My doctor has given me medication to help me. I had a mini stroke last year and part of my face is still not right. Two days ago she slapped me across that side of my face and laughed. I really don't want her to leave but my friends and family have said I must let her go at the end of the day. I really do think she could be either using or taking something. I am so scared for her and I have no idea what to do. We have tried talking to her - she won't listen."
If your teen has been abusing or misusing substances, you may have a lot of questions about how to cope, watch our video for guidance
For more information on support groups and counselling services, visit www.talktofrank.com or call the FRANK helpline on 0300 123 6600. You can also speak to ADFAM for guidance and help. It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.