Helping a Kid Who’s Not Your Own

Suspect a Teen You Know Is Using?

Why Should I Care?

What Should I Do?

Should I Talk With the Parents?

The scenario is a common one: you are a volunteer mentor and one of your students confides to you that she is “experimenting” with marijuana. What do you do?

Here’s another example: you are the coach for a teenage hockey or soccer 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.

How do you handle these situations?

The power of a non-parent role model should not be underestimated. You can be a powerful positive influence for kids, especially for kids whose parents use or abuse drugs and alcohol.
Drugs in Pocket

While the stories may vary from an after-school activity to a church-sponsored event, the elements remain the same: you find out that a teenager who’s not your child is using drugs or alcohol. You have little or no direct authority over these kids—you’re just a volunteer trying to help out. You know little or nothing about drug or alcohol abuse. You’re not their parent. You aren’t a member of their family. You probably aren’t even their teacher. You just wanted to give back to your community and you are unprepared for all of this.

One thing is sure: You know you shouldn’t ignore it.