Signs of drug experimentation
July 6, 2012 12:54PM
Updated: August 8, 2012 6:01AM
Dr. Wallace: Our family lives in an area of Chicago that has an overabundance of criminal activity, including drug selling and drug using. Our oldest son is 16, and so far, we believe that he is not using any kind of drugs, but we can’t guarantee that he will remain that way.
What signs should we be looking for that would indicate our son is using drugs?
Mom, Chicago, Ill.
Mom: PRIDE (Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education) offers 10 suggestions for parents to be alert and to help children resist drugs. I’m sure they will help you.
1. Always remember that you, the parent, are your child’s most influential role model.
2. Set expectations for your child and follow through. Be clear that you want no drug or alcohol use, and tell the child what you’ll do if he or she does not meet the expectation. Then do it if necessary.
3. Keep reminding the child about the expectations.
4. Take advantage of teachable moments.
5. Know what’s going on in your child’s life — at home, at school and out with friends.
6. Know the parents of your child’s friends.
7. Encourage worthwhile activities such as YMCA, scouting and school activities, especially athletics.
8. Be supportive of community anti-drug programs.
9. Know what you are talking about when you discuss drug abuse with your child.
10. Know and recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse and act swiftly if you suspect your child of involvement: irregular sleeping and eating patterns, becoming irritable easily, not wanting to be with family, always short of money, easily swayed by peer pressure, being forgetful, and school grades dropping, are a few signs.
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