Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine: Substance Abuse (Video Transcript)
Pediatrician Paula Cody, MD, of American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, says drug problems are marked by social withdrawal, and conversations should start in middle school, when abuse often begins.
Watch Dr. Cody's video, or read the transcript below:
Abuse, they're pretty much the same for any drug. They're withdrawal of activities that they used to enjoy in; spending a lot of time by themselves; their grades are slipping; they have changed groups of friends.
If any of their friends have been caught with any drug paraphernalia or alcohol, it's time to take a closer look at your child because substance abuse has to travel in packs. It does not happen in isolation.
These conversations should be starting in the middle school because that tends to be when the main experimentation period starts. And it's not just about illegal drugs; it's also about the legal drugs, cigarettes and alcohol being some of them.
If parents model good behavior, their kids will take notice. As far as other drugs, talking to them openly and honestly about how you feel about drugs, imparting your values onto your kids is very important. Instead of, "This is" -- "I have no tolerance for it. You're going to be thrown out of the house," you have to be open and honest and do it early.