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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Have You Ever Used Drugs?

"Have you ever used drugs?" As a parent, it’s a tough question to answer – but dodging it is not the answer. Instead, you should treat the question with respect, and use it as a teachable moment to open the dialogue with your child about the dangers of substance abuse.

This isn’t to say that it’s going to be easy. You may fear that no matter how carefully you spell out the lessons from your own experiences, you may be implicitly imparting a lesson about lack of consequences? In other words, you experimented with drugs and alcohol and seemingly turned out OK. Or, that your honesty will someday be thrown back in your face; for instance, if you or your child (or both) are dealing with drug and alcohol problems.

But experts argue that it’s important to put these fears aside and address the real issue at hand – why your child is asking this question in the first place. The Medicine Abuse Project, launched by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, offers the following tips/suggestions.
  • Don’t lie. If your child finds out the truth, this can put you at risk of losing your credibility.
  • Give an honest answer — but also know that you don’t have to divulge every detail. 
  • Ask a lot of questions in order to understand exactly why your child is asking about your drug history.  
  • Use this discussion as an opportunity to talk about what tempted you to use drugs, why drugs are dangerous, and why our child should avoid making the same mistakes you made. 
Three Possible Answers About Your Drug Use 
Here are three examples from the Medicine Abuse Project of the tone you can take and wording you can use:
  1. “I took drugs because some of my friends used them, and I thought I needed to do the same in order to fit in. In those days, people didn’t know as much as they do now about all the bad things that can happen when you take drugs.” You might even go one step farther and explain how we now have scientific evidence showing that experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence can lead to permanent changes in the way the brain works, including a greater risk of addiction in adulthood. 
  2. “Everyone makes mistakes and trying drugs was one of my biggest mistakes ever. I’ll do anything to help you avoid making the same stupid decision that I made when I was your age.” 
  3. “I started drinking when I was young and, as you can see, it’s been a battle ever since. Because of my drinking, I missed a big part of growing up, and every day I have to fight with myself so it doesn’t make me miss out on even more — my job, my relationships, and most importantly, my time with you. I love you too much to watch you make the same mistakes I’ve made.”
Getting Help for Your Child
Many young adults are in total denial of their substance abuse problem. Others may cry out for help, but are not clear-headed enough to make decisions about their wellbeing. At Hope Academy, we help parents advocate for their children, so they get the help they need before it is too late.  Call today: 866-930-4673.
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