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.
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.