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Numerous studies have shown that drug use among teenagers is a growing problem. For instance, this report claims that over 75% of youngsters have experimented with drugs. The conclusion of these chilling statistics is inescapable - on the balance of probability, your child is a drug user.
Adequacy.org realises that parenting is often a difficult challenge and it is hard to know where to turn to for help. With this is mind, we've prepared this useful guide to provide you, the parent, with the definitive lowdown on drugs and to advise you on how to protect your child from the scourge of drugs.
Know your enemy
The first step in helping your son or daughter to overcome a drug problem is to educate yourself about the nature of their addiction. To assist you, the following list gives you the essential background information on popular drugs, including their street names and the telltale signs of addiction.
Heroin is by far the most dangerous and addictive drug of all, causing tens of thousands of deaths worldwide every year. Heroin takes the form of a white powder which the user smokes, either from a water-filled vessel (known as a hookah or bong) or from a homemade cigarette (known as a reefer, joint or roach). If your child has started smoking, it is almost certain that he/she is also hooked on heroin.
Despite being dangerous, heroine is also very expensive and a single dose may cost as much as Ģ100 ($70). The high cost of heroin inevitably causes addicts to turn to crime to fund their habit. Stealing and prostitution are two common crimes perpetrated by heroin abusers. If your son frequently stays out at night beyond curfew, it is possible that he is using the cover of darkness to burgle or commit robberies. Alternatively, if you find condoms or contraceptive pills in your daughter's bedroom, she may be working as a prostitute to pay for her next fix of heroin.
Heroin abuse is typically accompanied by listening to "repetitive beat music", which may sometimes be called "ambient", "electronica", "hip-hop", "house", "rave" or "techno".
Crack is a relatively new drug, which is mass-produced in factories in Eastern Europe, South America or Asia. Thanks to the economies of scale made possible by these vast illicit sweatshops, crack is a relatively inexpensive narcotic, costing about Ģ3 ($2) per crack.
Crack comes in the form of a small, brown pellet that both looks and smells like licorice. Pellets of crack are typically chewed, sucked or swallowed whole. Since crack abusers often try to disguise the distinctive smell of the drug on their breath, the use of chewing gum is a warning sign that your child is addicted to crack.
Crack addicts prefer listening to rock music, which may take the form of "death metal", "goth", "heavy metal", "industrial", "punk" or "thrash metal".
Several different narcotics fall under the umbrella of "psychedelic drugs":
Despite their different chemical compositions, all of these drugs cause the user to experience terrifying hallucinations. The effect of these hallucinations is so intense that long-term misuse of psychedelic drugs causes memory loss, mental illness and alopecia.
The warning signs that your child may be abusing psychedelic drugs are more apparent than for other drugs: long hair, facial hair, loose-fitting clothing, ear/body piercings and tattoos are all reliable indicators that your son or daughter is addicted to psychedelics.
Music is an essential part of the psychedelic "experience". If your child regularly listens to music from the 1960s, it is likely that drug-induced hallucinations are forcing him/her to vainly attempt to relive the Summer of Love.
Gathering evidenceAfter reading the preceding lowdown on drugs, you may have recognised some of the warning signs that your child is a drug addict. Your suspicions may be aroused further when your son asks you for money. Perhaps he needs this money to pay his drug dealer? Is your daughter struggling at school? This could be due to brain damage caused by addiction to narcotics. Alternatively, if your child shows little sporting ability, this may be due to the toxic side-effects of drug abuse.
If you suspect that your child may be hooked on drugs, it is your duty to find evidence of his/her habit. Some effective strategies for investigating your child's addiction include:
How to help your childOnce you have gathered evidence that your son or daughter is a drug addict, it is time to take swift and decisive action. Be warned, your child will lie to you and will try to convince you that he is not abusing drugs. Remember that your child is in the grip of powerful mind-altering substances and will stop at nothing to ensure that he gets his next fix. Do not listen to these lies!
Countless medical studies have shown that "cold turkey" (i.e. immediate withdrawal from the drug) is the most effective way to beat addiction. Attempts to gradually wean an addict from the source of his addiction, by using a substitute such as methodone for example, inevitably fail and should therefore not be considered. To ensure that your child overcomes his addiction, you must act on his behalf to distance him from his drug-abusing lifestyle. The best way to achieve this is to:
Final thoughtsI hope this article will serve as a useful guide in helping you to cure your child's drug addiction. I wish you the best of luck and I hope your child experiences a speedy recovery!