For your teen’s entire life, you’ve done your best to protect them from harm. So when a teen struggles with substance abuse, it can leave you and your family feeling overwhelmed and unprepared.
You may feel guilty for “allowing” things to reach this point, or failing to notice changes in your teen’s behavior. You may feel exhausted, blaming yourself or your teen for their addiction.
Worst of all, family members of teens who struggle with substance use often feel alone. But there is hope for you and your family—and you are most certainly not alone.
The Facts about Teen Substance Use
Many parents struggle to understand how or why a teen has developed an alcohol or substance abuse disorder. You may believe your teen to be “too smart” or “too motivated” to succumb to substance use. But the fact is that substance use does not discriminate, whether your child is a star athlete or a straight-A student.
Here are a few facts to shed some light on this issue:
- About 50% of high school seniors believe it is okay to try crack or cocaine once (NIH).
- About 40% of high school seniors believe it is okay to try heroin once (NIH).
- Teens who use drugs or alcohol are far more likely to become addicted as adults (SAMHSA).
- Over 5,000 young people aged 15 – 24 die from drug overdoses in the US each year (NIDA).
Talking to Your Teen about Substance Abuse
The first step to finding hope for a teen with a substance use disorder is to have a conversation. It may feel too late to talk to your teen about the risks of drug and alcohol use, but this is far more effective than ignoring the problem, arguing, or waiting until your teen gets into serious trouble.
Your teen may be resistant to seeking treatment. Before you talk to your child, be sure to get all the facts about treatment. At Rosecrance, we offer free assessments for families dealing with teen substance use. Your teen can tour our facilities or talk with our team directly. For more information, see our guide on “Getting Past No.”
Finding Help for You, Your Teen, and Your Family
If your teen struggles with substance abuse disorder, you cannot simply assume the problem will go away. Even if the problem does not seem serious right now, it can become worse later in life if your child does not have the tools to deal with their substance abuse.
Seek professional help from a program that offers inpatient and outpatient services for teens—as well as for support for families.
Rosecrance offers substance use and behavioral health services for adolescents and adults. We believe that families are crucial to the recovery process, so we offer programs and ongoing support for families of teens.