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What should you do if you find out that your teen is using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs?

If you suspect that your teen is using alcohol, tobacco or drugs, it’s vital that you take it seriously.
 
One of the most important things to do is to talk openly with your teen about the problem. Try not to be too harsh or judgemental, remain calm. In most cases, a hostile, angry confrontation will only serve to push your teen further away.
 
If you feel as though you can’t cope, then ask your GP for help.
The type of treatment that your teen will need depends on the level of substance abuse that is occurring. For instance, if a teen has tried drugs or alcohol only a few times, an open dialogue about the problem may be all that he needs. However, if your teen has a substance abuse problem, then he may need to be seen by a doctor, counsellor or both. If your teen is addicted to drugs or alcohol then he may need to have a detoxification treatment.
 
A relapse is unfortunately common after treatment. It is not a failure on the part of the teen or the treatment. It is simply because recovering from an addiction is hard and it takes time. It’s important that both you and your teen are aware that setbacks are all part and parcel of the recovery process.

More questions

Being a teenager isn’t easy, it is a time fraught with uncertainty, and mood swings are a common side effect.
Make sure that you talk to your child early about what you expect in his behaviour towards alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
If you suspect that your teen is using alcohol, tobacco or drugs, it’s vital that you take it seriously.
Alcohol and drug abuse is a leading cause of teen death or injury related to car crashes, suicides, violence, and drowning.

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