Headlines tell stories no parent wants to read. Drug overdose deaths are on the rise. The nation is in the grip of an opioid epidemic. The incidence of teens experiencing depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts is increasing exponentially.
Parenting comes with challenges, no matter the child’s age. Parents of teens worry about many serious issues affecting their children. And one of the most serious issues is drug use.
Some parents avoid thinking about the possibility of their children using drugs.
Some parents are certain their children would never experiment with drugs.
Some parents suspect their teens might be trying drugs, but they’re afraid to talk with them and ask the tough questions.
Some parents know their teens are using drugs, but think it’s a phase and the kids will be fine.
Some parents know their teens might be heading for trouble because of drug use, but they feel helpless to intervene.
And some parents are quickly thrust into dealing with it head-on when their child is suspended or expelled from school, or arrested for illegal drug use.
From extensive work with parents and teens, The Barry Robinson Center understands these issues and sees that parents need support. That’s why the Center will be sharing more resources about teens and substance use, raising awareness and equipping parents to take action.
“We want to help parents to know they’re not alone, to know that help is there for their teens with substance use problems,” said Jennifer Stolpe, program director for the Center’s Intensive Outpatient Substance Use program for teens.
“It’s a very scary world out there,” Stolpe said. “The drugs on the street today are not the same drugs that were around 20 or 25 years ago when today’s parents were teens. They’re much more powerful and potentially more deadly.
Parents need to be aware of the reality of today’s drug problem.”
Stolpe also pointed out the connection between mental health and substance use. Some teens are self-medicating with drugs in an attempt to relieve anxiety or depression. Those teens need specialized treatment to address both the substance use and co-occurring mental health condition.
Empowering parents to talk with their kids about drugs, to recognize the signs of drug use and to know how to seek help will be the focus of a social media campaign this spring. The Center will share resources for parents and encourage its online community to join the effort. Resources will also be posted on the Center’s website.
Learn more about our outpatient substance use program for teens.