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He's high and I know it but I Can't Prove it

answered 11:42 PM EST, Tue October 01, 2013
anonymous anonymous
My son came home last night and he seemed high on something. He wasn’t drunk. He had no smell and could walk a straight line and his eyes were not all red so he was not on marijuana but there was something different. He was spaced out and the rhythm of his words in conversation was weird. So what do I do? I know he was on something and he knows I know but he also knows I can’t prove it and he just denies it. AS I understand it, drug tests don’t work for a lot of the new legal highs and newer drugs kids take these days. When I threatened to drug test him he got this smug smile and told me to go ahead that I wouldn’t find anything.

Milena Colyer Says...


Thank you for submitting your question. In your scenario, there are many questions unanswered. Other things I would consider, before being sure I could provide a complete answer are: Has his behavior changed recently? Is he having problems in school? Is the "smug" attitude toward you a normal behavior? How long has he been having behavioral problems? Is this the first time you thought he might be high?

If you are confident that he is on drugs, first and foremost, seek help for him. This type of risky behavior exists for a reason and it is important that he and the family deal with those reasons in order to help him overcome the challenges that led him down this path. We want him enjoying life and not feeling the need to seek escape through intoxication. If you are not sure, there are clearly some challenges in your relationship at this time, consider family counseling - even if only a few sessions to assist in opening the lines of communication and strengthening your relationship.

Parents, I beg you to reconsider threats! Teens are in a state of seeking their independence and establishing their unique identity - a threat will only egg-on rebellion. Establish rules, establish boundaries, and maintain these with ACTION! An angry confrontation provokes conflict but concerned questions, expressions of love, and telling your son what your concerns are will open the lines of communication.

When he is sober, sit him down, tell him your worry, express your love, and ensure he knows that you want to help him be successful. Remember, the adolescent brain is not fully developed and the concept of long term planning and consequences simply are not there. What is there is desire, passion, and the need to survive - tap into his passion, discover what he wants, ensure he feels safe and use that to guide him toward positive decisions. 

Try statements like: "Son, I have noticed some changes in your behavior and am concerned for your well being. What's going on, sweetie?" Seems too gentle, huh? Well, he may blow you off or he may answer - if he answers, then GREAT! If he blows you off, dismisses your questions, or refuses to talk, be firm but not angry or frustrated (the key here is to not allow your emotions to control your behavior or your words)... any overt emotional actions (from you) that he perceives as negative will shut him down. Let him know you care, this is not about you, and that you are able to LISTEN and hear him. If you are hearing him more than you are talking, then you are on the right track!

 If it comes out that he is using drugs, please seek treatment and support him on his journey.

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Page last updated Oct 31, 2013

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