Do you suspect your son is on drugs? Learn how to tackle this growing social menace.
Aarti from Bangalore is worried about her son R. She has noticed that
he is no longer a calm, attentive boy of 17 but seems disoriented and
dazed most of the time. Lately, he has been coming home with red eyes, and yet there is no smell of alcohol. "Is my son using drugs?" she wonders.
Aarti is not the only one. In the past few decades, lifestyles have undergone a significant change. Increased pocket money and availability of lucrative call-centre jobs have ensured a steady supply of money to today's youngsters. Drugs are easily available at prices that middle-class people can afford. Moreover, the pressure to stay 'in', the desire to experience something different, and stress have led to a dramatic increase in drug abuse throughout India.
How Can I Identify a Drug Abuser?
Here are some visible signs that may indicate drug abuse. Remember,
these signs are of a general nature, and could indicate other reasons
such as a medical condition or a personality trait. At the same time, absence of these indicators does not eliminate the possibility of drug abuse, as many drug abusers are adept at masking visible signs and symptoms.
Physical and Behavioural Indicators:
Needle marks or abscesses on body, especially forearms
Increased or decreased appetite, eating binges, and a sudden intense craving for sweets
Dazed expression, confusion, inability to understand instructions, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration
Secretiveness and sneaky behaviour such as spending long periods in the bathroom or rushing to go outside
Possessiveness about contents of bag, clothes, or room
Violent and sudden changes in mood, depression, paranoia, or apathy
Disturbed sleep or change in sleep patterns
Personal neglect, shabby appearance, dishevelled hair, uncut nails, poor hygiene
Lavish expenditure, sudden disappearance of money or jewellery from the house
Use of certain lingo or secret code with friends or people on the phone
Reduced performance at school, college, or work
A drug abuser uses several tools to help him consume the drug including:
Cigarette rolling paper (common brands include Rizla)
Cigarettes with the tobacco emptied out, partially or completely
Drugs that require a doctor's prescription (when there is no health condition)
Household chemicals such as nail polish cleaner
They say you can know a man by the company he keeps. Observe your
child's friends. Has he recently changed his circle of friends? Do they
also display the same or similar set of behaviours exhibited by your
The following are often, but not necessarily, associated with a lifestyle of drugs, especially LSD and cocaine:
Certain clothes (torn jeans, wearing all black, t-shirts with marijuana imprints) and music preferences (trance and rock)
Sudden interest in long hair, dreadlocks, body piercing, and tattoos
My Child is Using Drugs! What Do I Do Now?
Once you are sure that your son has been using drugs, your timely intervention may save his life.
Talk to your child: Choose a time when your son is sober. Confront your child about his drug habit without shouting, threatening, or blaming. Avoid sarcasm or name-calling.
Listen: Find out if your child faces problems in his studies or job. Why does he use drugs? Ask him if he requires assistance in any area.
Impose discipline: Harsh as it may sound, certain disciplinary measures are required to prevent the habit from worsening. Do you give your children unlimited pocket money? May be it is time to cut down or ask him for a detailed account on where he spends it. Set clear deadlines for coming home late. Do not give him access to the family car (driving after consuming drugs can be fatal). Keep his driving license with you until he has quit the habit completely.
Consult experts: Only an expert can assess the level of drug abuse
and suggest remedial measures. Speak to doctors and medical
professionals with experience in drug counselling and rehabilitation.
Be firm: Be firm that your child needs to quit drugs completely. Explain why drugs are bad for him and his career. Remind your child that you love him, and are concerned about him. Your child
may refuse to seek help or postpone his visits to a counsellor. Be firm
without being harsh and do not negotiate with him. Be prepared for
excuses such as 'I have quit, so why do I need counselling?' or 'I'll never do it again'. Remember, it may be his addiction speaking.
Follow up: On a regular basis, check to see if
he is not slipping back into his habits. Speak with the counsellor or
rehabilitation centre, about your son's progress. If necessary, speak
to your doctor about surprise periodic medical tests that can check if
your son is still using drugs.
You may be uncomfortable about infringing on your son's privacy, but
conduct secret checks of his room and clothes, when he is not at home.
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- The Indiaparenting Team
Do you suspect that your child is using drugs? What have you done about it? What according to you is a good solution for treating drug abuse?
You need to check his belongings for any strange powders etc. when he' s not there. But it' s easier said than done. Fool your son into going for a blood test and say it' s for something else. Inform ...
Thanks everyone for your wonderful advice. My son is doing well in his career. So I don' t see any need for drugs right now. I think he should have told me openly. I would love to help him overcome it...
I wud like to know which drugs r medicinal. And even if they are, the potential harm outweighs the good. any drug should be taken under strict medical supervision. You just can' t self-administer drug...