When you have a suspicion your teen is doing drugs, what do you do? First, learn as much as you can. Check out all of SelfGrowth.com for information on drug and alcohol use by teens. Know that there is help available for you and your child. In most communities, you can get help from your pediatrician, nurse, or other health care provider, a counselor at your child's school, or your faith community.

The next thing you can do is sit down and talk with your child. Be sure to have the conversation when all of you are calm and have plenty of time. This isn't an easy task. Your feelings may range from anger to guilt, or you may feel that you have failed because your kid is using drugs. This isn't true. By staying involved, you can help them stop using drugs and make choices that will make a positive difference in their lives. Tell your child what you see and how you feel about it.

Be specific about the things you have observed that cause concern. Show them that you care for their well-being and this is why you are trying to get to the bottom of their problem. Make it known that you found drug paraphernalia (or empty bottles or cans). Explain exactly how their behavior or appearance (bloodshot eyes, different clothing) has changed and why that worries you and affects the whole family.

Tell them you've noticed that they have new friends that you don't necessarily know or approve of. It is important to set clear ground rules in your family about drug and alcohol use — e.g., in this family, we don't use crystal meth, and to let your kids know that you will enforce these rules out of love and concern for them. Setting a firm rule of no drug use will help your child resist peer and other pressures to use drugs.

Have this discussion without getting mad or accusing your child of being stupid or bad or an embarrassment to the family. Knowing that kids are naturally private about their lives, try to find out what's going on in your child's life. What is he doing? If your child is using drugs, find out why. When was the last time he used? Did he do anything that he regrets?

Try not to make the discussion an inquisition; simply try to connect with your teen. Find out if friends or others offered your child drugs at a party or school. Did they try it just out of curiosity, or did they take the initiative to use marijuana or alcohol for some other reason? That alone will be a signal to your child that you take your responsibility as a parent seriously and that you will exercise your parental rights.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Chris from Sacramento,CA. I have been an addict for over 20 years. I started using meth when I was 16 and have been clean since Feb 2006. You can read more from me at Meth Kills