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Teen experimenting with herbal marijuana – does he need treatment?

Comments (2)
answered 10:43 PM EST, Wed June 29, 2011
I caught my son with some sort of herbal marijuana, and I’m not sure how worried I should be. He says it not real marijuana, only some sort of herb blend and that it’s not even really illegal or harmful. He says it’s no big deal and that he’s smart enough not to do ‘real’ drugs, and that I’m freaking out for nothing. My son has always been a really nice kid and a good student and involved in bands and sports other activities at school, but this year it seems different and we’re getting pretty concerned. He just turned 17 and he doesn’t seem to care about any of that stuff any more; he’s always hanging out with a new set of friends that I don’t really know and we’ve caught him coming home drunk a few times over the last year or so. We’ve tried grounding him and taking away his keys to the truck and talking about our worries but all we get in return is bad attitude and no change in his bad behaviors. My husband suggested we consider some kind of treatment program to deal with the drug taking before it gets too serious but when we brought this up with Andy he went crazy and said he wasn’t a drug addict and didn’t need any kind of help! Is my husband right? Should we get him into some sort of treatment program?

Dr. David Sack Says...

From what you report, all indications are that your son has a drug or alcohol problem and it is getting worse.

Changing friends, loss of motivation at school, and shifting moods point to a drug problem.

There is no such thing as herbal marijuana - some of the preparations sold as herbal marijuana were sprayed with a synthetic marijuana-type drug that had most of the same effects as smoking pot. Unfortunately, the synthetic marijuana is not detected with routing drug tests. We strongly agree with your husband that your son should be assessed by a professional who has experience with drug and alcohol abuse and who can inform you about what the next steps should be.

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