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Talking to Your Child When You Suspect Drug Use

Last Updated: Friday, April 14, 2017

Daughter and mother talk on the sofa

Choose the right time to talk. When talking to your child be sure your child is sober or has not been using drugs before talking about drugs and alcohol.

Voice your suspicion. Begin by expressing your concerns without making accusations. “Susan, I suspect you may be smoking pot occasionally. I love you and I’m concerned about you. Is there something going on that we need to talk about?”

Be specific. Explain what you observed to make you concerned. For example, you found missing pills or an empty pill bottle. Or your child’s appearance indicates a problem.

Be prepared for strong reactions. Your child may accuse you of snooping or say you’re crazy. Stay calm.

Reinforce what you think about drug use. Tell her how much you care for him or her.

Get help from the experts. Contact the school counselor, school nurse, or family doctor about your concerns.

For more information, see Growing Up Drug Free.

TIP: A teen who is using drugs or alcohol needs to be evaluated by a professional for a possible substance abuse disorder. See Treatment and Recovery.

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