We know that talking about marijuana with your kids can be difficult – especially these days, with recreational use legalized in some states and an increasingly casual presence of weed in the media and pop culture. But with the right tools and skills, you can have easier, more productive conversations with your teen about marijuana, despite these unique challenges.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new YouTube video series for parents, featuring Heather Senior, LCSW, our Director of Family Support Services. The videos are designed to give you quick and simple tips and skills that will help you answer all kinds of tough questions and respond to push-back from your teen.
Launching each Thursday through August 6, the videos cover the following topics:
- How to set the stage for a productive conversation
- How to answer tough questions like, “Would you rather I drink alcohol? Weed is so much safer.”
- How to answer: “I’m only doing it once in a while. It’s not a big deal.”
- How to answer: “Marijuana is a plant. It’s natural. How harmful could it be?”
- How to respond to challenges from your teen like, “But you smoked when you were younger” (available August 6)
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first to know when we upload a new video in the series. These conversations can be challenging, and we’re here to help. For more tips on how to talk about marijuana, download our free Marijuana Talk Kit.
To help parents, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Treatment Research Institute created an interactive guide called Continuing Care: A Parent’s Guide to Your Teen’s Recovery from Substance Abuse.
Continuing Care, or aftercare, is the support plan following addiction treatment. Continuing Care can involve:
- Direct communication with the treatment program after the patient leaves
- Outpatient counseling sessions (group or individual)
- Phone follow-ups
- Activities that take place in community support organizations
Optimal but less frequently available continuing care options include:
- Drug testing and feedback
- Counseling or family therapy for parents and adolescents
- Social skills training
- Case coordination with schools and probation officers
Usually the nature and extent of continuing care varies by treatment facility. Some treatment centers offer very little continuing care, others will offer more. Most recommend a continuing care plan, often a 12-step program or less intensive care.
Ideally the time to start thinking about continuing care services is during treatment.
“A month of treatment is, of course, a milestone for one suffering from substance abuse, however, it is only the beginning of recovery for an individual – the first step. The tools they learn in treatment have yet to be applied in the real world, the pressures of school, relationships, sports and work, all of which can sometimes be overwhelming.” - Denise Mariano
An ideal continuing care plan should involve:
- A counselor or support group and at least twice weekly sessions for the first month
- At least weekly sessions for the next two months
- Twice monthly sessions for at least four more months
Better plans would include:
- Continued regular checkups and monitoring via drug testing provided by a professional. The intensity of the continuing care should adjust based on the results of the checkup.
- New activities your child enjoys that will bring him or her into contact with friends who don’t drink alcohol or use drugs.
If the treatment program does not provide a continuing care plan, then you and your child will need to develop one, preferably with a counselor or medical professional. If your child has a probation officer, you may be able to work with this individual.
It is not always easy for teens to stick to a continuing care plan and it will likely require effort and support from all involved.
To learn more, please visit Continuing Care: A Parent’s Guide to Your Teen’s Recovery from Substance Abuse. You’ll find the answers, tools and support to make your family stronger, and to help you deal with the complex and challenging situations your family may experience during the days, months and years after treatment.
What are your family’s experiences with continuing care or aftercare? Please share in the comments section below.
Teen medicine abuse is an epidemic. That’s not our declaration; it’s that of the CDC, who doesn’t throw the term “epidemic” around loosely. It’s no secret that this behavior is a problem (and a devastating one); what is sometimes confusing, though, is what you can do in your own home to prevent the behavior and protect your family.
At the Partnership, we know that kids and adults who intend to abuse are not only accessing medicine from their own homes, but they seek it at the homes of their friends’ parents; their grandparents; and others. Safeguarding and properly disposing of the medicine you keep at home is an action that everyone should take – regardless of whether or not you believe your teen or family is at risk.
So, how do you deal with those unwanted, expired or unused medicines in your home? Here are some simple steps to help clear up the confusion.
- The best and safest way to dispose of unwanted medicine is by finding a take-back location near you. The American Medicine Chest Challenge features a national directory of permanent prescription collection sites in every state across the country, so you can learn where to take your meds year round. The DEA also hosts national take-back days a few times per year. Either of these options are ideal ways of disposing of your medicine.
- If you can’t get to a take-back location and must dispose of your meds at home, it is best to crush them up and mix them with an undesirable substance – like coffee grounds or kitty litter – and throw the mixture in the trash. This makes pills less appealing and less recognizable to anyone who can see your trash – including your teens. Note: flushing your medicine is not advised and is dangerous, as it contaminates water and causes an environmental hazard.
Of course, many people have medicine at home that they are actively using, or need to keep at home for future use. If this is the case, be vigilant about counting your pills and safeguarding this medicine.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, talk to your kids and family about the dangers of abusing medicine. For more information on how you can help #EndMedicineAbuse at home and in your community, visit our Medicine Abuse Project website.
The post What DO I do with those extra meds? A few simple steps. appeared first on Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.