Dear Patricia Marie,

My 25 year old son's behaviour has been concerning me lately, as he does not seem to want to settle down, and goes from one girlfriend to another. However I have just found evidence in his room that he is taking drugs and I am most disturbed.

I have recently noticed that his personality can be totally different from one day to the next, but I would never have thought he was the type to need drugs to help him through the day. I have brought him up well, sent him to university where he received a passable degree, and provided him with money each month to pay his expenses.
In fact, I am still supporting him now, as at the moment he is only working part-time. What went wrong? Should I confront him?


Patricia Marie says...


There are a variety of reasons why people take drugs, including helping to relieve stress, to fit in with the crowd, for escapism and because they see it as a fun thing to do. Not everyone who takes drugs becomes an addict. But sadly many do end up with an addiction, so it's important that action is taken early on to prevent this from happening.

Communication is essential, and, as difficult as it is, you have to confront your son. Quietly tell him you suspect he's taking drugs, then let him speak. Avoid asking him the questions he is expecting you to throw at him, such as: "How could this have happened to you?" or "How could you do this to me after I have given you everything!" Questions such as these are irrelevant at the moment. Instead find out what is happening in your son's life. Is he struggling with any inner turmoil? Are there relationship issues? Does he have any problems at his place of work?

Do acknowledge the positive aspects of his life too, as although it may be part -time, at least he is getting up and going to work. Convince him you really want to help, but insist that he is honest with you. Remind him that however difficult things seem, you will always be there for him. This will show him the one thing a parent should naturally display for their children - unconditional love. If your son admits to using drugs, he needs to address this. Counselling, hypnotherapy, and addiction support can all help him, but only if he is willing to accept he has a problem.

If he denies taking drugs, and continues to take them, you may have to get tough. Remind him drug use is serious. As well as being illegal, it ruins the lives not only of the users but also of their families too. Tell him there is only so much you can do, that his behaviour is causing you great distress and that it cannot be allowed to continue. You must understand you are not to blame for your son's habit. He is 25, very much an adult, and needs to take responsibility for his own life.

As well as the support of their families, drug users often require professionals to guide, advise and help them. Open 24 hours, 'Ask Frank' is a confidential friendly, non-judgemental helpline for anyone in the UK concerned about drug abuse. I would urge your son to pick up the phone and regain control of his life right now.

Ask Frank: 0300 123 6600 www.talktofrank.com