16-Year-Old Son Is Addicted to Marijuana

Ms. Vicki
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.

We don't know what to do with him. 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?

-- 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 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. You want your son back, but making him smoke is not a punishment for him and he won't have a revelation or enlightenment.

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

Many teenagers think there is nothing wrong with marijuana because it has been legalized in some 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 whether they provide classes and treatment for minor family members. If they don't, you should call Tricare, which 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.

-- Ms. Vicki

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