Grandson may be using and selling drugs?

by Brian

I have a 15 year old grandson who I think is doing drugs. He may also be selling them as well. How do I approach him to correct this problem?

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Addiction is a disease of denial!
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Brian,

Wow, dealing with an adolescent is ALWAYS difficult because they are trying to establish their own identity and become an independent adult. Their peers are the most important people in their lives and they tend to dismiss or ignore anything said to them.

When drugs enter the picture, everything gets SO much more challenging. There is no easy answer to the question your asking and each situation and person is different.

I can tell you that if your grandson is using drugs that he's likely to deny it if you confront him. This almost always the case. Why? Because when a child begins to use drugs, their brain begins to change in negative ways. As their brain changes, it requires more and more of the drug to function "normally".

Also, in the case of a fifteen year old, the brain is still developing and that further complicates the changes in the brain from drugs. The parts of their brain where honesty and good decision making exist are often the first parts affected. They begin to do things to get drugs that they NEVER would have done before. That's why addiction is considered a disease of the brain.

I know so little about your situation, but I will try to give you some ideas of what might be helpful. First, when ever you're talking to him try to stay calm and not get angry. Ask reasonable questions in a quiet moment when his friends are not around. If you have any activity that he enjoys doing with you, like fishing or going to a ball game, start there and then start a conversation about it.

Continue to discuss it with him and don't keep it a secret. Tell his parents your concerns, tell the school your concerns and try to get him to a doctor. Let the doctor know your concerns and ask for guidance.

Because he is a minor you and his parents should have a lot more options for changing his environment and getting him into treatment as soon as possible. He can't say no, he has to do what you say. Once he is eighteen everything changes and your options become much more limited.

Good luck,


I hate drugs!!!
by: Anonymous

Every addictive drug will remind him of the hell he just went through. Instantly, just thinking even about smoking weed, benzo's, the thought of it will scare him straight. All drugs synthetic etc all eternity, I will wash away his mind from those desires and his heart remove them completely from his life.

We tried the best we could to explain to him why we are concerned.
by: Brian

Debbie, the following, are collective thoughts, after having a lengthy family discussion with my grandson. Family being, father, mother, who are divorced, and myself.

We tried the best we could to explain to him why we are concerned.

1) He does NOT believe that pot can or is harming him despite our many examples to the contrary.

2) We do not believe he is doing the pot to fit in or be cool - to the contrary since he has started doing it regularly he has most likely taken a few hits to his popularity rating.

3) Despite solid and rational evidence-based arguments put forward on why he should stop he seems absolutely committed in his mind to continue to do it - why I ask myself?

This makes me believe in part that despite being told that the THC in the pot is detrimental to normal brain development, especially in adolescent boys aged 13-18 (UNDISPUTED SCIENTIFIC FACT) he is acknowledging this fact and the potential lifelong impacts BUT is once again determined to continuing to do it.

Again I wonder why? In the absence of any other significant at-risk behaviors that might be due to or as a direct consequence of getting high I am starting to think he might be self-medicating. I might be wrong but this is my gut feeling.

He has always had extreme anxiety in some social settings, even sports - despite always being one of or the best players....he's always been very popular however his ability or lack thereof to grasp school work or certain concepts has at times made him feel stupid and as a result ridiculed for being dumb or in the "retard class". These issues, in combination with his sensitivity these situations for him are more than just awkward or uncomfortable, they have a huge impact on his self worth, perception of how others view him and certainly his confidence ( especially at his age)- hence the numbing or sedating effect of getting high and just not giving a crap.

I think the problem in part is that he does care and that getting high is easier than admitting he needs help or doesn't understand a lot of the academic stuff...the more attention and dedicated help at school makes him feel that much worse cause he still doesn't get it!

He is still such a good kid and has so much going for him, I'm trying to tell him that he is way too young to be throwing in the towel and settling for anything but the very best in life.

Debbie, I would appreciate any thoughts, ideas or next steps we could take as I value your opinion.


He is a kid and doesn't understand the consequences of his actions.
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Brain,

Your grandson's reaction is fairly typical of most adolescences who smoke pot, drink alcohol, or use other drugs.

"I like it, I'm going to continue to do it, I don't care what you think!"

There are a couple of major issues and possible solutions you're facing with your grandson

1. He likely has social anxiety which should be treated by a good adolescent psychiatrist. This should reduce the need for self-medication.

2. He's VERY likely addicted to pot and as time progresses will likely switch to a more serious drug before he graduates from high school. He's likely already experimented with other drugs like pain pills or speed. He needs addiction treatment RIGHT NOW and he attendance must be MANDATORY.

Adolescent addiction is a VERY serious disease and his opinions are being influenced heavily by his addiction. Drugs attack our brains and convince us that we must use and that NOTHING else matters. That's why addiction at any age is so difficult to treat.

3. He also sounds like he has a learning difference which is undiagnosed. There are many great assessment centers to help understand exactly what he is struggling with.

It could be ADD or ADHD or a visual problem or a processing problem or it could be dyslexia. Getting a correct diagnosis can help him get the right accommodation and can significantly improve his self-esteem.

Here is what I would do if I were in your situation. I would take him to a doctor and psychiatrist ASAP and get him into an addiction treatment program.

Use his participation is sports as the motivator for compliance. If he continues to use, then he is no longer allowed to participate in sports.

I would also recommend that all of you begin going to Al-anon meetings ASAP, work the 12 steps, and find a sponsor who can guide you through this very difficult situation. Drug addiction is often a fatal disease if left untreated, so learning how to deal with addiction now is your best hope to save him. I know this sound harsh but the sad reality is that's true.

Good luck and I hope you're able to help your grandson. Your love and support of him and hatred of his addiction may be all he has.


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- Matthew 7:7-8

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