Worried about your child and their recent behavior? Do you suspect that something disturbing is happening to him? Find out how to find out if your child is using drugs and why it is worth fighting a possible addiction.
Why do children and adolescents use drugs?
Adolescence is a huge challenge for every young person. On the one hand, raging hormones, on the other hand, the demands placed on him by his parents, school or the closest environment. The pressure can be overwhelming, it can lead to looking for an easier way or ways to reduce stress. This is where drugs (but also alcohol or cigarettes) may appear, access to which is becoming easier. According to research, most teenagers have had contact with drugs, and almost a quarter know how to get them.
Another reason is the company in which the young man hangs out. They may use drugs at parties and meetings and consider it a natural way to rebel against adults. In such environments, drug use is normalized and even made into something special, a sign of adulthood or belonging to a group. Then reaching for substances may be caused by fear of rejection or low self-esteem. In fact, the family situation of the child no longer matters much. The problem may be related to the so-called “better” houses as well as social lowlands. Where contact in the family is good and where it is practically absent. The experiences of parents struggling with their children’s drug addiction show that there are no rules.
What drugs do children take most often?
In most cases, the first contact with drugs is marijuana. However, it should not be considered as soft drug, because even this can lead to addiction. In addition to the substances mentioned below, adolescents may use LSD, ecstasy or legal highs. At the same time, it is worth knowing how long the metabolites of individual drugs persist in the human body (i.e. in urine and saliva). This allows for their effective detection through drug tests available in pharmacies.
– marijuana. THC stays in the body for up to 3 weeks,
– amphetamine is detectable up to 72 hours after ingestion, methamphetamine up to 6 days,
– cocaine and barbiturates last up to 48 hours,
– MDMA (ecstasy) up to 4 days,
– morphine – from 7 to 72 hours after ingestion.
In the case of hair, most narcotic substances can be detected up to 90 days after ingestion – except for LSD (3 days). However, such tests can only be carried out by a specialized laboratory.
How to check if a child is taking drugs?
Remember, as a parent, you always have the right to verify your suspicions. Drug addiction is a serious disease, which is why its diagnosis as soon as possible is crucial for the further fate of your child. What is worth paying attention to?
– primarily to change the contact with the child. If the child has been open for most of his life so far, willing to talk and share his concerns, and has been introverted for some time, it may indicate something more. Not only difficulties in growing up or shame related to certain situations, e.g. at school, but at the beginning of problems with drugs,
– the child wants to be alone more often, he locks himself in a room that is often aired at the same time. Avoids family gatherings, is reluctant to spend time together,
– the child has broken off contacts with his previous friends, and at the same time is reluctant to introduce a new company,
– the child disappears for a few hours, comes home late,
– lack of respect for previously established rules, rebellion,
– emotional instability, from euphoria to deep sadness,
– sudden changes in weight, appearing blood from the nose, punctures on the hands,
– the child’s pupils do not react or react very slowly to light (i.e. they do not constrict),
– the presence of various types of accessories, e.g. pipes, cigarette papers, burnt aluminum foil, small foil bags, etc.,
– Valuable items or money from your wallet start disappearing from your home.
The first step of a concerned parent should be a matter-of-fact conversation, devoid of negative emotions. An addicted person may lie, avoid the topic – it may turn out that it will be necessary to search the room and personal belongings (as a parent, you have the right to do so). As a last resort, if you want to know if your child is using drugs, you can use a drug test. When you are not sure what your child can take, reach for the universal test. It will answer the question whether the child has anything to do with substances.
My child is taking – what should I do?
One of the first steps should be contacting a therapist who will suggest further actions. Drug addiction can be an extremely complex phenomenon and its unraveling (after all, it is a mental and physical addiction) requires effort, time and patience. Parents of an addicted child (or one who starts) need to be sensitive to many behaviors and set clear boundaries. At the same time, it is necessary to find out what the cause of addiction is. It is often a long and painful road through the psyche of a child, but also his mother and father. You have to prepare for it. Fighting alone does not make much sense – neither of us is prepared for this type of challenge.