Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Kid is Smoking Pot!!!!

As a psychiatrist who treats drug-using teenagers, I can tell you that parents' reactions are extremely important in helping the teenager. Parents should neither over-react nor under-react when they find out that their teen is using marijuana or any other drug. Obviously, if your kid is putting himself in immediate danger, you need to do something immediate: if she is unarousable after drinking a lot of alcohol, for instance, you should call 911. But the more common circumstance is finding out that your teen is smoking pot, and has been for a while. The important things to find out are the following: is the marijuana use affecting my teen's schoolwork? Relationships? Physical health? Is there other drug or alcohol use going on? Is my teen putting him/herself in dangerous driving situations? Or making him/herself vulnerable to being sexually abused? Arrested? Is he/she aware of the long-term consequences of marijuana use? Is he/she aware of the legal consequences of illegal drug use? You can't make an informed assessment until you know the answers to those questions, and you and your teenager might be in need of professional help to get to the bottom of it.. It's not that I think marijuana use is a good idea for teenagers - it never is - but you will need to know if the marijuana use is an occasional goof, or a self-destructive pattern of behavior. Bottom line, you are better off starting a conversation about the issue, rather than screaming at your teenager....

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