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? about drugs

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I don't know whether ds (age 15) is doing any drugs but there is some concern. So, I know I can get a home test kit. Say it comes up positive for marijuana or other. What is the next step??  Obviously if it was heroin or meth or something else really bad, I would have some idea. But if it's not, we're not just jumping to drug treatment. Our talking to him, I think isn't taken seriously. We have talked in the past and ds attitude is basically that we don't have a clue.

 

He is currently in therapy so that is huge. Well, we'll see if he goes back. At any rate, I've thought of testing him, just not sure how to 1) approach that and 2) deal with it after.

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Also, if he is using anything I **think** that it is early on or even hasn't tried it yet. I keep feeling like it's a train wreck that will happen. But knowing ahead of time, isn't there something I can do?? I'm trying. I know therapy is a good start. Hope it's a good fit, etc. because I don't know if I could get him to another one. Other than that, any suggestions if it's early on as I think (hope) it is.

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At 15 I would do all in my power to restrict his access to however he is getting drugs.  Of course if it is serious drugs like heroin my approach would be more aggressive.  But if it is pot, I would do a radical friend check and stop it there.  Beyond that my talk with him would be 'I am doing all I can to help you, but I fully recognize I can't stop you if you are determined.  I hope you will listen to the people who care about you.'

 

 

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I would urge you to be very careful about accepting positive drug results without some other concrete proof.

 

Drug tests are not straightforward things, at all.  False positive drug tests are far more prevalent than we would all like to believe.   My doctor actually told me that most people test positive for pot. They don't even take it seriously because it's pretty hard to NOT test positive for pot.  There are also many things that sound like urban myths (like eating poppy seed muffins) that can actually make you test positive for drugs.   And you would not believe the number of OTC drugs that cause false positives for scary things like cocaine.

 

Maybe you dc is doing drugs, but really, don't assume the tests are accurate.  Look for other proof.  

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Maybe your dc using drugs happened in the past, and/or maybe you're right, maybe it is a future train wreck.

I don't know anything about your child's rights, the therapist, and the law, but I agree, I would talk to the therapist but I have no idea what to suggest to you to say or ask the therapist.

 

:grouphug:

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I'm saying this as the sister of a drug pot user/grower/dealer.  my mother handled it in a *very* weak manner - and it had NEGATIVE  impacts upon me.  if there are siblings in the home - put. them. first. before he wrecks their lives too.   my brother is now clean - but he's tin-foil hat nuts. (I was recently tempted to forward him weird al's tinfoil song . . . but I digress.)

 

if it is positive for pot - I'd start by making him read the numerous studies (from places as diverse as king's college in England, UC davis, and one in NZ) that  have recently been released about how regular use (they id'd that as 4 joints a week - which isn't very much for most teenage users.) is damaging to the brain (kills white matter),  as well as a downward on socio-economics.

 

most kids who use, are self-medicating for something.  I'd demand it stop - no exceptions.  and find a more constructive way to help.  maybe antidepressants to go along with the counseling.  I'd also let the counselor know this is now a problem.

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False positive drug tests are far more prevalent than we would all like to believe. My doctor actually told me that most people test positive for pot. They don't even take it seriously because it's pretty hard to NOT test positive for pot. There are also many things that sound like urban myths (like eating poppy seed muffins) that can actually make you test positive for drugs. And you would not believe the number of OTC drugs that cause false positives for scary things like cocaine

 

Where on earth did you get this information? Even norml says false positives for marijuana are rare http://norml.org/marijuana/drug-testing/item/the-abcs-of-marijuana-and-drug-testing

 

Here's an interesting study with poppy seeds, though. Which is why they ultimately raised the level needed for a clear positive

http://m.jat.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/1/53.long?view=long&pmid=12587685

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I don't have any advice about the drug use but I wanted to offer something about a bigger issue - your presumed loss of influence. 

I'm a fan of Gordon Neufeld's writings on developmental psychology (he wrote a book called Hold on to Your Kids) & I've heard him speak several times & on this topic, where influence was lost or threatened too early, his advice was to urgently put the adolescent in a position where they depended on you & to rebond. The two examples he gave were both of trips: one was a wilderness type trip & the other was a trip to another country.  The point of the trips was to be removed from the normal environment and to be placed in a position where the authority of the parent was reaffirmed (through knowledge of important skills such as how will make a fire or how do we convert money & how do you order breakfast in this foreign language?) 

I first heard him speak about this when my kids were very young & I always kept it in the back of my mind that if I ever thought we were prematurely losing influence, I would pull money out of savings and take the kid on a big long trip. I think sometimes in older times, when people sent a troubled kid away to an aunt or another adult relative, it served much the same purpose - dropping the kid in an environment where they are a bit more dependent again & realigning them to be influenced by good elders instead of peers. I do think it's so much tougher now because peers are online & ready to yank at our kids wherever they go but still, it's worth trying or at least thinking how else you can achieve the same end goals. 

He has an online/dvd based self study course on his site on this subject: http://neufeldinstitute.org/course/making-sense-of-adolescence/

These are some of the topics it covers which I think might help you.  best wishes. 

 

  • Reclaiming our youth: how to hold, or win back, their hearts
  • Taking a wrong turn: when peers replace adults
  • how to deal with the premature loss of power and influence with an adolescent

 

 

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I don't have any advice, but I think you are wise for thinking through what the next steps should be if you get a positive. I have learned from experience that it helps to always be thinking, "and then what?" when it comes to teens. I don't do my best parenting when I am caught without any semblence of a plan. Even if it has to change, at least I've had to think about some priorities and alternatives.

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I don't have any advice about the drug use but I wanted to offer something about a bigger issue - your presumed loss of influence. 

 

I'm a fan of Gordon Neufeld's writings on developmental psychology (he wrote a book called Hold on to Your Kids) & I've heard him speak several times & on this topic, where influence was lost or threatened too early, his advice was to urgently put the adolescent in a position where they depended on you & to rebond. The two examples he gave were both of trips: one was a wilderness type trip & the other was a trip to another country.  The point of the trips was to be removed from the normal environment and to be placed in a position where the authority of the parent was reaffirmed (through knowledge of important skills such as how will make a fire or how do we convert money & how do you order breakfast in this foreign language?) 

 

I first heard him speak about this when my kids were very young & I always kept it in the back of my mind that if I ever thought we were prematurely losing influence, I would pull money out of savings and take the kid on a big long trip. I think sometimes in older times, when people sent a troubled kid away to an aunt or another adult relative, it served much the same purpose - dropping the kid in an environment where they are a bit more dependent again & realigning them to be influenced by good elders instead of peers. I do think it's so much tougher now because peers are online & ready to yank at our kids wherever they go but still, it's worth trying or at least thinking how else you can achieve the same end goals. 

 

He has an online/dvd based self study course on his site on this subject: http://neufeldinstitute.org/course/making-sense-of-adolescence/

 

These are some of the topics it covers which I think might help you.  best wishes. 

 

  • Reclaiming our youth: how to hold, or win back, their hearts
  • Taking a wrong turn: when peers replace adults
  • how to deal with the premature loss of power and influence with an adolescent

 

 

 

Excellent.  And very similar to my feelings of shutting down the bad influence. If he is getting drugs he is getting them from somewhere.  

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I once tried to speak with my teen's therapist and was abruptly turned away because it was an unethical breach of trust that could ruin their relationship with the counselor. I was only trying to give information that could help the counselor if the kid wasn't truthful with him, but he wouldn't hear me.

Edited by Amy in NH

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I once tried to speak with my teen's therapist and was abruptly turned away because it was an unethical breach of trust that could ruin their trust and relationship with the counselor. I was only trying to give information that could help the counselor if the kid wasn't truthful with him, but he wouldn't hear me.

 

 

Ridiculous.  And I hope you yanked said teen out of that 'therapy'.  Ugh.

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My wife was sent to a therapist at 15, and the therapist a the end of the first session went and told her parents that she thought my wife was doing drugs. First off, my wife was ticked off because she thought what she said to the therapist was confidential, so that lost all trust in therapy at least until 18yo, and secondly, my wife wasn't even doing any drugs/hadn't done any drugs ever yet at that point. Her parents went nuts over it though, believed the therapist more than her, and when she soon thereafter switched school to a private school in the middle of the school year, a bunch of the kids there thought she was a stoner (kids transferring to a private school in the middle of the school year are often kicked out for drug use or w/e), so she went along with it, figuring that if everyone thought she was using drugs, she might as well actually use them.

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I once tried to speak with my teen's therapist and was abruptly turned away because it was an unethical breach of trust that could ruin their relationship with the counselor. I was only trying to give information that could help the counselor if the kid wasn't truthful with him, but he wouldn't hear me.

legally - they aren't allowed to give information without the patients consent.  even for a teen. 

 

it would have been helpful had the therapist been willing to listen to your concerns. they may have thought you were seeking information and that's why they were so abrupt with shutting you off.

 

 

My wife was sent to a therapist at 15, and the therapist a the end of the first session went and told her parents that she thought my wife was doing drugs. First off, my wife was ticked off because she thought what she said to the therapist was confidential, so that lost all trust in therapy at least until 18yo, and secondly, my wife wasn't even doing any drugs/hadn't done any drugs ever yet at that point. 

 

I think some parents just want to believe the worst.  my grandmother was one of those.   that woman was a piece of work.

 

and she's right - the therapist shouldn't have said anything to her parents.

my son's counselor told him he thought he was bipolar.  um, no.  my son told me, the counselor isn't allowed to tell me squat without ds's permission. 

Edited by gardenmom5

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I haven't btdt with my kids on this, but I can't imagine that forcing a kid to take a drug test when you really have only the vaguest sense that this might be something he's thinking about is going to go over very well in terms of building your relationship. If there were clearer signs, then I'd possibly feel differently, but I think at this point, it seems like it's just going to drive a wedge between you.

 

I think talking to the therapist and doing things to strengthen your relationship and positive involvement would be the first steps, not the testing at this point.

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:grouphug:

 

 

I agree with Farrar, but wanted to ask, are you doing family counseling as well?  This might be a topic to approach there. 

 

 

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When we dealt with this, the kid was younger, so we had more influence, just simply in terms of how he spent his time.  I think the Gordon Neufeld approach is excellent, but in our case "self-medicating" (a term I loathe, but anyway) was most of the problem.  Because of this, when I caught and confronted my son, I was able to basically put a stop to him spending much time alone.  Not easy...and I feared greatly for his safety and future at the time, and our relationship, which was very fraught with confrontation for awhile.  What is interesting is that he could have put up a much larger fight than he did-he was a big kid physically and certainly could have over powered me, but he didn't. From that fact alone I assumed he wanted me to stop him.  

 

When I say I hate the term self-medicating, I mean that I think it removes any responsibility for the fallout of a choice to use drugs from the user-it's an excuse.  In most cases, the user could have found any number of more constructive, less harmful ways to deal with his or her distress. 

 

Worked a lot on relationship building, positive ways to spend time and energy.  But I also watched him like a hawk and he knew that we'd search his room and monitor his activities very closely.  Therapy was not as helpful as I hoped.  It's taken me almost a decade to understand why.  To put it in a nutshell, I suspect my son't difficulty was mostly related to his brain wiring, so any insight-oriented therapy was bound to flop.  And it did.  

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Do not do a home drug test kit without discussing it with his therapist. If not managed properly it could cause permanent damage to your relationship. While talking with the therapist you can ask about consequences. 

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