If you’re like most parents, you don’t believe your child has experimented with drugs or alcohol. Only after a problem develops is the substance abuse recognized.
It’s also a fact the sooner substance abuse treatment is provided, the better. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a statement in the journal Pediatrics that sets the nation’s standard for identifying and treating substance abuse in children.
Education and Screening Should be a Part of Almost Every Doctor Visit
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that almost every doctor visit your child has should include substance-abuse screening and education, only discussed between the doctor and the adolescent.
Members of the Academy said doctors can use a variety of screening tools to gain an accurate picture into an adolescent’s usage of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The policy statement notes that the doctor should inquire about substance abuse at all types of visits, not just annual check ups. Studies have shown when a teen is at the doctor’s office for an illness or urgent problem, they are more likely to divulge their use or experimentation than during well-care visits.
No Amount of Use is Considered Safe
In this statement, the Academy also notes that no amount of drug or alcohol use, even if it is considered experimental, should be condoned or trivialized. Any amount of use should be treated to prevent further abuse and lifelong struggles with addiction, as well as poor health associated with using.
What to Do if You Suspect your Child is Using
If you suspect your child is using, even if they said it was only once and just experimentation, you need to get your child help. Substance abuse treatment facilities can help identify the nature of the use, the level of addiction and provide the treatment your teen needs to have the best chance in life. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your teen’s safety and well being.