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16-Year-Old Son Is Addicted to Marijuana

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son is 16 years old, and he is skipping school, cutting class and barely passing his courses. We found out he was smoking and were very angry with him for polluting his lungs.

We wanted to teach him a lesson so I purchased a package of cigarettes and made him smoke each one right after another. We wanted him to get so sick that he would never touch another cigarette. This backfired and we caught our son smoking weed in the garage.

Again, my husband and I wanted to make him smoke the weed and get sick, thinking he wouldn't want to touch it again. Now, all he does is smoke weed. He is always high and can hardly function anymore.

We don't know what to do with him anymore. My son doesn't care about anything anymore. He is lifeless, agitated, angry and then he wants to sleep all day. Do you have any advice about how we can make our son kick his weed habit?

Signed,
Sending Up Smoke Signals

Dear Smoke Signals,

First of all, please stop making your son smoke himself sick. This intervention is not helping at all.

It sounds like he needs help from an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, an addiction specialist. From your report, he is experiencing some symptoms of marijuana addiction. For example, anxiety and irritability, lack of motivation and the inability to quit using this drug. The more he smokes, the worse these symptoms will get.

I know you are worried and concerned. You want your son back, but making him smoke is not punishment for him and he won't have a revelation or enlightenment, either.

What you want him to say is "I quit, I'll never smoke marijuana again." This won't happen until he gets some professional help.

Many teenagers think there is nothing wrong with marijuana because it has been legalized in a few states and others are following the trend. Because your son is a minor, you still have an opportunity to have some influence on him.

Check with the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) on base and ask if they provide classes and treatment for minor family members. If they don't, you should call Tricare and they will refer you to a center for services off base.

Time is of the essence. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how your family is doing. I will be thinking about you.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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