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Ask the Experts: My son might be doing drugs
Our team of counselors and case managers work with thousands of families and children all whom are working through extremely difficult and traumatic circumstances. They are the professionals at the front & center of child welfare and family counseling, working to heal families and as a result, communities. Their collective knowledge is a remarkable resource and we are proud to be sharing their astute observations, recommendations and insights as they answer tough, candid questions from both parents and children looking for peace and healing.
I think my teen is doing drugs. How do I confront him?
What if he is – I can’t afford rehab. What should I do?
First of all: Congratulations on knowing your son so well that you are aware of something going on with their child. Many parents are not aware until it is too late. Drugs and addiction are scary issues that can get out of control very quickly. Now it is time to act fast and begin the conversation with your child. Dedicate time to strengthening the relationship with your teen and make sure to have positive relationship-building time with him each week to help influence his decisions that you don't have control over. (Television and movies don't count unless you get time to talk and hang out before or after.)
Finding customized help will be key in your approach with your son. In our program, Family Solutions for Kids , we understand the hardest and most important lesson to learn as a parent is how to lovingly help your child to the best of your ability. Our innovative, free program is a 12-week, intensive in-home intervention tailored to meet the distinct need of each family we serve. Family Solutions for Kids is available to any St. Louis County family with youth ages 4 to 19. The flexibility of the program allows for the intervention to be preventative, used as an aftercare service or anything in-between. Treatment is completly individualized and depends on the needs of the family.
As this isn’t your ‘specialty’ as a parent, we would strongly suggest you speak with someone trained in addiction counseling. Contact your local treatment program, like Preferred Family Healthcare, a partner organization in Missouri whose staff specializes in drug addictions. Their staff can give you advice on how to talk to him about drugs. Depending on circumstances, you can also ask if there is a staff member working in your son’s school able to talk with him about dangerous behavior. Preferred Family also offers group meetings to educate kids about drugs and/or alcohol addictions. Their team can provide suggestions on paying for a drug treatment facility if that becomes a necessary option in the future.
Counselors at the St. Louis County Youth Connection Help Line will also help connect you with services & resources. Youth and families can access the Helpline services by calling 314-628-2929 or 1-877-928-2929, texting 4HLP to 31658,
In Missouri, you will find a large number of parent support meetings held at community centers and schools. Working with families dealing with similar issue, you'll find good advice and helpful tips for you as a parent and may be an emotional support for you during this time.
If you have other family members who have struggled with drugs or other addictions, you may consider going to an Al-Anon support group. You will find meetings all over the country, each specific to helping family members of addicts learn to be emotionally healthy, especially if you've grown up in a family with addictions and emotional dysfunction. Groups will especially help parents set and maintaining boundaries during this time.
There are Intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse as well as inpatient treatment. Most take insurance and some are on sliding scales.
Mercy Hospital (St. John's) offers Edgewood, an intensive outpatient program.
Call the hospital or Edgewood program at (314) 628-6500 for information.
Find your local providers.