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Addiction to Drugs/Son with Addiction?


Hi, I have a 17 year old son that started smoking pot when he was 14. After being caught he quit for 2.5 years and about 10 months ago started again. Since he has taken up this habit he developed a severe depression, has started failing in school an skipping classes. In March he and his dad got in an argument and he told us that he is seriously depressed and asked us for help in which he was admitted into an inpatient mental health hospital.  There they did a chemical dependency eval and determined he only had mild abuse issues. He admitted to me however that he did not tell the entire truth about the fact he was using daily.

When he got out of the hospital he cut down for a bit but now I believe is back to doing it daily. He doesn't just smoke a little weed, he uses hash oil, Dabs as he calls it which make him extremely messed up and high. He will continually dab for hours and a couple times on school nights now he has passed out/fallen asleep wherever he is at and I have had to go searching for him in the middle of the night.

He thinks this is perfectly ok, and will defend pot against alcohol and all the good things it can do like help with glaucoma and cancer. He gave up all his friends for older kids that are high school dropouts and also smoke pot and likely do other drugs as well.

this is a rampant problem in the high school and I know my niece and nephew do it too as do many of the high school jocks and classmates. their parents don't seem to be concerned about it like I am and so I wonder if I am overreacting. They all think its a phase they will grow out of when they turn 20 or so as some of their other kids have.  in my mind, when it causes you to lose your ambition (my son used to work three jobs and now hates working) and skip school it has become a problem.

I did get him into counseling which started today (not with an addiction counselor) and hoping in time they can work through this and he will see the light but in the meantime I am looking for advice on what to do with him. how do you draw the line in knowing this is a teenage thing he will outgrow or if we should seek treatment for him while he is 17 and we still can at the risk of causing more harm and labeling him if he is not truly addicted? I keep hoping if the meds start working and the depression lifts he wont seek it as much. I spend every night wondering if he will come home. if he will be safe. it is very stressful for sure.

any advice would be welcome. Thank you.

Hello Tammy,
You are on the right track with seeking help and treatment for your son. Starting anti-depressants may in fact help the problem, but does not negate the need to address his marijuana use.
Setting firm limits and boundaries regarding your expectations is very important. I understand how scary and stressful this is for you. However, you can't let your fear keep you from parenting.
I would advise you to get him education/treatment with an addictions counselor and-or group as well as his mental health counselor. They may be able to recommend someone for you. Also I encourage you to begin Al-anon meetings. These groups are designed specifically for the family members of people who abuse drugs and alcohol. They are free and anonymous. You will find the support and strength you need to make the best decisions for your family going forward. You can find a meeting in your area at
Good Luck to you both and stay strong!

Addiction to Drugs

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Sherrie Sweet


I am qualified to answer questions in all areas of addiction and recovery. If you have a question that I can not answer, I am not afraid to tell you that I do not know, however, I am willing to help you find the answer. I am qualified to assist you with questions asked by the individual who is using drugs or alcohol, as well as questions from concerned friends and family members. I understand the stigmas of this disease and the difficult issues that arise from substance use. I am here to offer guidance and support.


I have worked in the field of substance abuse for 20 years. I have experience working in the areas of inpatient detoxification, outpatient counseling, halfway houses, self help groups, individual, marital and family counseling, drunken driving education, pregnant and parenting programs, and medication assisted treatment. Additionally, I have a strong background in medical issues, psychopharmacology and mental health issues. I believe in individualized treatment which meets the specific needs of each person suffering from the disease of addiction.

I currently hold a Masters Degree in Human Services/Psychology. I am also continuing with a PhD in Counseling Psychology. I am internationally certified as an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, and licensed as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I am additionally pursuing the credential of a Substance Abuse Professional which will allow me to work with and evaluate individuals who are employed within the D.O.T. system. Lastly, I am a partner in private practice working with individuals who are seeking recovery from addictive disorders.

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I have extensive experience working with individuals from all walks of life. I have worked with professionals, community leaders, NFL players, police officers, lawyers, nurses, homeless individuals, the indigent, doctors, and attorneys.

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