Well the very first thing I tell parents who come to see me as an addictions therapist at the Caron Treatment Center in New York City is to trust your instincts. If you intuitively feel that your kids are using drugs, you need to act on that. And you need to look at other signs and symptoms of a drug addiction.
So for instance, how are they looking to you? How do they physically appear? Are they experiencing changes in their weight? Are they losing a lot of weight? Are they gaining a lot of weight? Are they sleeping a lot more? Are they irritable a lot more? Theses are the indications that your child could be using drugs.
What's also critically important is to know who your kids' friends are. In my experience, kids whose friends are using drugs are using drugs. And it's not just their friends who they hand out with in the neighborhood, it's also the people that they're hanging out with online. Listen, our kids live in two different worlds now. They live in a physical world of the neighborhood, and they're also living this other life online. So it's very important for parents to recognize that and to know where your kids are going online and who they're hanging out with.
So the key factors here are trusting your instincts, keeping your eyes and your ears open for behavioral changes in your child, and knowing who your kids' friends are, not just in the neighborhood, but also online.