Suspect a Teen You Know Is Using?
Why Should I Care?
What Should I Do?
Should I Talk With the Parents
Here are a couple of examples:
Scenario 1: You are a volunteer mentor or guidance counsellor and one of your students confides to you that she is “experimenting” with marijuana. What do you do?
Answer: Teenagers need safe place to come and talk if they are curious about drugs/alcohol and if they are experimenting. Generally, youth cover up their drug use and might talk about all the other problems, and using drugs as the solution. Look for observable facts about their drug use and discuss the issue with the student, then share those facts with the parents.
Scenario 2: You are the coach for a teenage hockey team and you are told by one of the team members that a teammate is drinking pretty heavily or using marijuana or both. Other than a few unexplained absences and a recently lousy attitude, there are no obvious signs to you.
Answer: All adults are legally required to share information about children/youth if they are in danger. You can always tell your students, “There are 3 secrets I can't keep...
1. If someone is harming you, I am legally required to call Child and Family Services
2. If you are going to harm someone, I am legally required to tell the person or call the police, etc.
3. If you are harming yourself, I am legally required to tell your parents, guardian, Child and Family Services, etc.
Abuse of alcohol and drugs is technically self-harm if the student is using dangerously. A guidance counsellor or teacher or volunteer coach must use their professional judgement - if they see the sign/symptoms of chemical dependency in a student escalate, the adult is required to share.
The power of a non-parent role model should not be underestimated. You can be a powerful positive influence for kids.