Hiding in Plain Sight (Part I)

Zelda Okia, MDHow to Know if Your Child is Using DrugsLeave a Comment

Believe it or not, your kids frequently advertise their drug use. They love to share this information with their friends. Some of it is in a code that is meant to throw parents and other adults off their trail. One easy way to spot it is to look at the pictures your child has up on the wall in their bedroom or see what photos they post on their Facebook page. Look at what YouTube channels they visit. Check their Instagram, or do a periodic sweep of their computer and see what websites they have visited.

If you are wondering how to find out what is on your kids Facebook page, ask them to friend you if you have an account or if you wish to monitor their activities more closely, ask for their login information and password. You really should know what your child is posting on Facebook and online.

One of the police officer’s conducting a drug awareness forum I attended stated that he regularly reads his daughters text messages on her phone. He told her that a requirement for having the phone is allowing him access to her text messages. Additionally, she is not allowed to delete any of the messages. When asked how he knows if they are deleted, he says he follows the thread and when there is a skip in the sequence, then he can tell something is missing. If you don’t know for sure when something has been deleted, don’t worry about it initially. The more you do this, the more you will pick up on things that don’t make sense.

A common place where kids hide their drug activity is in their bedroom. Many of the heroin overdose deaths I encountered were in people with a long-standing history of drug abuse that were living at home with their mothers and fathers. In one family, dad was living with his elderly father, who owned the house, and his drug abusing daughter brought home a guy she met at a Nar-Anon meeting, who overdosed right in grandpa’s house. Grandpa knew nothing of what was going on.

If your child tells you that you are not allowed in their bedroom, that indicates a breach in your parent-child relationship. You may need to remind them who pays the bills in the house. If they are living in your house, tell them you have a right to access every nook and cranny of your own house. If they are living down in the basement, walk through it periodically. Make your child keep their area tidy. In one family where the child overdosed on heroin, the parents were strictly forbidden to enter their child’s bedroom.

You want to give your child their privacy to a point that you feel comfortable. But a child should not forbid their parents ever entering their bedroom. You need to feel free to go into your child’s bedroom. Don’t clean it up for them, but tell them to keep it clean. You can even go as far as to demand that they keep the door open at all times or remove the door completely. It is your house. You are paying the bills. You have influence.

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