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Drugs A letter to heroin

When a child experiments with marijuana, consulting a therapist may be very important, says Dr. Brian Johnson, an addiction specialist at the State University of New York (SUNY) “Counseling is a step toward finding out why a child wanted to try marijuana in the first place. Was Jessica feeling peer pressure and needing support to resist using drugs? Was there pain she needed help learning how to handle? Using drugs at any age is a sign of distress. Parents certainly can’t lose by taking their child to a counselor or therapist.”

Young people may resist seeing a counselor, but as long as a child is living at home, parents can insist that the child does what is in his or her best interest. Parents can say, “I’m worried about you. Let’s go to see a counselor together.”

If the child refuses, the parent can explain: “Talking with a professional is so important that there will be consequences, unless you agree to go.” Consequences may include taking away cell phone, video games, spending money, and the use of the car. If the child still refuses to go, the parent can go alone and ask the therapist for help in dealing with the issue.

Dr. Johnson says it may be appropriate to turn to legal authorities. “When parents feel powerless over their kids’ drug use, listening to the legal authorities is the right thing to do,” he says. “I often see parents hire lawyers to protect their kids from the legal consequences of drug use. Doing that is wrong. It enables the drug user, and the problems usually get worse."

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