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What to do if You Find Drugs in Your Child’s Room

It can be a shock to find your child in possession of drugs or alcohol. Most people feel like their kid would never do drugs, that they’re too young, or that at least they would notice something if their kid was doing drugs. In fact, most American teens have tried alcohol and been offered drugs. A large percentage have experimented with drugs.

Drinking and drug use among teens is a particular cause for concern because early use is a big risk factor for addiction later on. The earlier someone begins drinking or using drugs, the more likely they will eventually become addicted. Early use also amplifies the damage caused by drinking and drugs. The earlier someone uses drugs in development, the more lasting the damage is likely to be. This is all to say, that if you find drugs in your kid’s room or clothes, it is a problem you need to address.

The most important thing is to keep calm. You will likely experience surprise, confusion, denial, fear, and anger in quick succession and it might feel overwhelming. You might want to confront your child with your discovery right away and demand an explanation. This is a bad idea. It’s hard to think clearly in this state and anything you say or do is not likely to help.

When you’ve taken a while to calm down, do some research. Figure out exactly what you’re dealing with. It makes a difference if the drugs you found were opioids or MDMA. It helps to know as much as possible about the drugs and how dangerous they are.

Talk to your spouse or partner. He or she will probably be angry like you were. Make sure he calms down and doesn’t do anything rash. Get on the same page. Even if you don’t quite agree how big of a deal it is, or what you should do about it, at least agree to support each other when you talk to your kid.

Once you’ve calmed down, done your research, and discussed it with your spouse or partner, get ready to talk to your kid. Don’t ambush him right when he gets home from school. He’ll probably already be angry that you went through his stuff and putting him on the spot will only make him more defensive. Pick a time that gives you the best chance for a productive talk. That said, don’t expect it to be easy for anyone.

Make sure he knows you love him and that you want what’s best, but also that you don’t condone drug use. Do what you can to make him feel more supported than attacked. He will probably be angry and might say some nasty things. Be the grownup and keep calm.

Ask questions and listen. Keep in mind that while sometimes kids just experiment with drugs, they often use because they are depressed, anxious, or stressed and don’t know how else to deal with it. If there is an underlying problem, it’s better to get it out in the open and deal with it. The next step might be to see a therapist. Even if this is the case, it does not negate the need for an appropriate punishment.

Most teens who use drugs and alcohol are not addicted, but it can happen. If it turns out your kid is addicted, try to convince him that treatment is in his best interest. If necessary, most states will allow you to admit your child to inpatient treatment without his consent.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.