Sunday, August 16, 2009

Listen to Your Kids Because Talking to Them About Drugs Doesn't Always Work

We talk to our kids about drugs and it just doesn't seem to have any impact. Why? They have the attitude that they won't get into a car accident if they drive fast, they won't get pregnant if they have sex, they won't get addicted if they use heroin.... This "invincible teen attitude" is part of normal brain development. Their brains or specifically the prefrontal cortex is not developed yet. So, that proves that our teenagers are acting without a brain or at least the front part. The brains front section is responsible for considering risks and it helps us stop doing something if it's too risky. Since, this part of the brain is still developing in teens some of the wiring is not intact...the stop/go wiring. This creates a serious problem for parents but yet also gives of a sense of why teens act the way they do.
Using drugs when we told them how dangerous they not defiance, its not rebellion — its their brain! They do not comprehend the consequences of drug addiction at all!

So what are we as parents supposed to do to keep our children away from drugs — when they're operating without an fully functional brain? Researchers have been trying to find out why ...risk factors such as genetics, mental illness [anxiety, depression or mood illness], early use of drugs, social environment, and childhood trauma seem to be recognized as the main risk factors.

In hindsight, I can identify that "social anxiety" was the main factor in my daughters heroin addiction and it started in middle school. All I can say is listen to your kids....I mean really listen. If they say "I don't want to go to school"...find out why. Ask as many questions as you can to find out what's really bothering them-don't just shrug if off as I did and respond by saying, "schools hard, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do." Some children don't know how to handle anxiety...and if you don't help them find ways to cope with their feelings then they find ways to cope on their own — and sometimes they find heroin.

So, listen to your kids because talking to them doesn't always work.


Madison said...

I go backwards many times to find the point where I could have saved my daughter from the grief she has lived through. And, like you in this post, I remember the day when she asked if I would homeschool her. I didn't even give this a second thought. On that day, I thought about all the wonderful experience that school provides. There is no question in my mind that I would have responded differently today. The amount of pressures that young teenagers face when they walk the halls of these schools cannot be minimized or underestimated. That is not to lay the blame at our feet, but just to acknowledge that the pressures are enormous and the solutions provided by peers are devastating.

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Hi Madison-
I knew she was having a difficult time in school and she'd get through it just like everyone else. I had a great school experience so I really couldn't relate to how she was feeling or what she was experiencing. In hindsight, I don't think there was anything I could have done to prevent it except get her counseling. At the time, unfortunately I thought counseling was a silly idea.

Susan M DeAngelis said...

Your message is very powerful. You and your family is in my prayers.

I'm a recovering alcoholic/addict (7 years) with a 17 year old daughter.

All through my daughter's adolescence, I kept close tabs on my daughter. With two addictive parents, how couldn't I?

I was lucky; I was a teacher in her high school so she didn't have much room to hide.

Listen, Watch and don't be afraid to ASK...

Again, love your message, friend.

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Hi Susan-
If I had listened I might have heard what she was really saying. I don't want other parents to think [even for a second] that just because they talked to their kids about drugs — they won't use them.

rakaur said...

Just so you know, there is little evidence that the naloxone in Suboxone (the "blocker" as you call it) has been shown to have absolutely zero effect. It simply isn't a high enough dose. The partial agonist properties of buprenorphine (the opioid in Suboxone) itself lends to the blockade effect of the drug. It has an extremely high affinity for opioid receptors and thus "blocks" other opioids such as heroin. This can be overcome with a massive dose, but that's highly dangerous. Subutex, which is just buprenorphine, is just as effective and often cheaper.

I work in the neuropharmacology field. I also suffer from chronic pain which has made me quite familiar with opioids.

angelo212 said...

The nalexone isn't there to act as a blocker. It doesn't even get absorbed hardly if you take it sublinguly like your suppose to. It is there to stop addicts from shooting it. The buprenorphine is the blocker.

shannon260 said...

I just read your post on Wellsphere about your daughter--
It seems you are very supportive and involved. If you haven't been involved with AA or NA yet I really encourage you to check it out.

We as addicts and alcoholics have found that the only way we can arrest this disease and begin to heal is through attending meetings daily, forming an AA/NA support group, and working the 12 steps.

It's completely free and it really works. At the age of 18 I had been a heroin addict for 3 years; I tried everything and nothing helped much until I found Narcotics Anonymous. With the help of this program I have worked through everything-terrible cravings, relapses, etc-and by the grace of my higher power and these meetings and these people, I have not had a fix, drink or drug in 6 years and 9 months.

If you don't have information on 12-step programs, and Life-saving...

Barbara aka Layla said...

Thank you so much for this post. It should be must reading for all parents who kids are heading to that age. I was so close with my son - he told me so many things that SHOULD HAVE BEEN an obvious clue to his suffering. I can't go backwards but I try to tell other parents where I went wrong, and this post says it so well.

(somehow I didn't have your blog on my list and am getting caught up)

Cheri said...

Hi! This is the first time I've been to your blog, and I can relate to your post. Teenagers certainly do think they are invincible, don't they?

Madison, don't beat yourself up too badly. I did homeschool mine, and he still ended up on drugs! But he will also be sober four years in June, and we have an amazing relationship now. If only I would have been able to connect to him then as I do now.

Truth be told, he has said that he was just experimenting. He had no idea it would lead to addiction. If hubby and I hadn't intervened and forced him to face his life, I don't know where he would be today.

The important thing is that when we, as parents, finally wake up to the issues in our kids' lives, we cannot just sit back and "do nothing" and hope the problems go away. We have to do whatever we can. Our young people may not respond as we hope(our oldest son got in trouble with drugs too, but he wouldn't get help), but we still have to try.

Sorry for rambling on...


bluesdog said...

That is a beautiful post... the only sad thing about it is the fact that you had to say it.

I guess people have a hard time distinguishing between "talking to" and "listening". That problem isn't limited to communicating with teenagers but if listening were a more common practice then our kids would be among the first to benefit. And heck they might even learn from the example and it might catch on.

Anyway thanks for making the Internet a bit smarter.

Sid said...


I've been a heroin addict for nearly fourteen years, starting at 17.

Ive struggled for years with it, and the damage and pain you cause your family is awful, it also feeds back into the cycle of using though through the guilt!

Interesting blog anyway, I know writing really helps me.. I've recently started blogging about it all anyway


Ive blogged about it anyway