Advice to deal addicted student?

(New Mexico)

I work at a small charter school in NM. Recently a young teenager was allowed to register at our school. She just finished a drug rehab program but in my estimation she is still in a bad way. We have no one at our school that has ever dealt with anyone youngster faced with this situation.

The vice principal is supposed to keep an eye on this young girl but does not. Our counselor is ill equipped to deal with the student. The student spoke with me last year and told me she needed a fix and was going to run away from school not caring if she was placed in prison. I told the vice principal and the young student was caught trying to leave school.

My question is why the hell do we have this girl as a student if no one knows how to deal with her? And what would your advice be?

Obviously, we do not have the facilities to help this youngster. If my principal ever found out I was writing this note I would get fired, but I am frightened for this youngster?

Talk to Each Other

by: Ned Wicker

First and foremost, this young girl needs support in her recovery. It is one thing to go through treatment, but it is quite another thing to embrace and immerse yourself in recovery. She is at high risk of relapse because of her age. Has anyone sat down with mom and dad and explained your point-of-view with them, to open a dialog about how best to help this teenager?

The school has no resources to handle Substance Use Disorder (SUD), even though it is a huge issue in schools nation-wide. It surprises me that your principal is ill-equipped to help this girl, or has no knowledge as to where to turn for that help.

The staff of the school can be a big support for her if they know what she is dealing with and are willing to go a few extra steps to try and be part of her solution.

You say the principal would fire you, but have you had a sit down discussion about this girl, as a team?

Are you even allowed to broach the subject? It seems to me that your principal is in a good position to effect a game plan. To do this, why not call in someone who has that expertise and can work with the staff in formulating a strategy? The professional SUD consultant, the parents and the staff need to talk.

This little girl is struggling because she has a brain disease. She may have made a bad choice and used drugs, but you can’t undo that. Look forward. She is in serious jeopardy of relapsing and having her disease advance.

Because of her age, she is not emotionally mature enough to handle the management of her disease, so she needs a firm hand. She is going to be a handful.

You might want to call Al-anon and get their take on your situation. That organization has answers to so many questions and their members are very understanding. Please let us know what happens.

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