If you think your teen may be drinking or using drugs, it’s important to step in early. Follow these steps to take quick and effective action:
- Look for warning signs.67
Keep in mind that many of these signs can also be signs of an emotional problem, like depression.68
- Step up your monitoring of your teen.
Download our parent checklist of ways to monitor your teen in different situations.
- Ask your child if they are drinking or using drugs.
Keep these tips in mind for the conversation:
- Wait for a time when your teen appears calm and not intoxicated or high.
- Stay calm and serious without appearing angry.
- Note the signs you’ve noticed that are making you concerned.
- Listen and give your teen a chance to explain.69
- Set or revisit rules and consequences.70
Make sure your teen knows what’s expected of them—and is held accountable for their actions.
- Bring in a professional for your teen.
If you’re not satisfied with your conversation with your teen, or you suspect a serious problem, connect with a healthcare professional such as your family doctor or a mental health or substance use counselor. A professional can help you pinpoint the exact problem, determine whether it’s a mental health or substance use issue, and get help if needed.5