Why do kids do drugs?

Kids do drugs because they do not love themselves. What can parents do about it? More here.

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This article is for parents who are asking – “My kids is on drugs – What do I do?” We invite your questions, stories and feedback at the end.

Why do kids do drugs?

Kids do drugs because they are not in love with themselves! End of story!

Think of it, if a teenager girl loved her life, would she snort Adderall every day just to stay skinny? Would a young talented athlete on his way to college take 0xycontin because it helped him “deal with stress?”  Of course, the answer is no! And if you believe otherwise you must put down your bag of fairy dust and wake up before you suffer the ultimate loss. Believe me; I’ve seen the pain in the eyes of a parent burying their child.

Parents, please consider the following.

1. The peer pressure argument

Okay, so I know all the bullshit you’ve heard about peer pressure. You can Google “why do kids take drugs” and read all about it on other websites. But it’s not only a waste of your time; it’s also another way for parents to avoid the truth. It’s another way for parents to evade blame and not step up to the plate to take responsibility for their children’s drug use.

So here is the truth.

I became a drug addict at thirteen. I eventually got clean and learned how to abstain from drugs. But did I take drugs alone? No! I found other kids that took drugs. Peer pressure? Of course it wasn’t, those were the kids I fit in with. Those were the kids who understood how difficult it was at my house. I didn’t have to tell them my father was a lunatic. We all had a common belief, “Life sucked and drugs made everything better.”

2. Kids share drugs

I’m sure the information you read from Google will tell you that most parents don’t believe their kids are on drugs because they have no money. Unfortunately, that is just another piece of information written by somebody who garnered most of their knowledge from books.

Kids on drugs share drugs with other kids!

When I was using drugs as a teen, I found messed-up kids like me with money who were so willing to help me get happy! It was all about being happy and when kids are happy—they share.

3. Parents need to take responsibility

It’s not your fault if your kids do drugs. You’re human. Hey, I’m a parent. I have 5 kids and boy did I make mistakes. The only difference in my life, I claimed responsibility for my children’s happiness. I didn’t cop-out and say, “I gave them everything.” I fought daily to help all my kids love themselves. And I’m not for a second saying it was easy.

But if you are wondering, “Is my kid on drugs?” and you want to change things in your home, you have to admit that something is wrong. Don’t sweep dysfunction under the carpet. When my father died, the lines at the wake were out the doors for several hours. My dad taught high school English for 20 years. But not one of his ex-student standing in line knew what went on inside our home at 129 Star Avenue. It was “house business.” And it drove me to drugs, using drugs to try to cope with my family life.

4. Kids, drugs, and self-esteem

Now it’s not quantum physics. Parents, just be logical, it’s a simple mathematical equation. Kids with low self-esteem take drugs. Kids suffering from mental and emotional issues take drugs. Kids take drugs because their life sucks and all they want is to be happy.

Do you know what shit tastes like?

Now for those professionals who are reading this saying, “This guy is way too one dimensional.” I can’t help but think about a great line in my memoir “What’s Left of Us.”  At this point in my life, I’m sitting in detox being evaluated by Dr. Levine the county psychologist. I’m dope sick, coming off a 10-bag-a day heroin habit. I look up and see a Harvard Degree on the wall. Then I glance over to countless manuals on a bookcase.

“Do those books tell you what shit tastes like, Doc?” I ask.  He just shook his head. So I said, “Nobody can tell you what shit tastes like, Doc. You gotta taste it yourself.”

You see, I’m an ex-junkie. I’ve done everything you could imagine, survived, and came out the other side. Bottom-line: I’ve tasted shit.

What to do if your kid is taking drugs

Parents, your kids need help. Your kids don’t love themselves enough and only you can help them build that self-esteem so that they can say no to drugs because they like who they are. So what can you do?

1. Admit there is a problem.

2. Seek profession help both for the family and your child.

3. Don’t give up on yourself or your children.

Now if you think this is all bullshit, ask yourself this question. “Does my kid love himself/herself?” Think about it long and hard. It’s simple: why would a teenager ingest, smoke, snort, or inject something as a form of self-medication in order to be happy?

Take heed parents. I can’t tell you the number of children I’ve seen buried in 2011. I can’t tell you the number of parents that have asked me “Why did it happen to my Johnny?” Or, “How did it happen to my sweet little Mary?”

About the author
Richie Farrell won the du-Pont-Columbia for directing the HBO documentary film, High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell. That film inspired the 2010 major motion picture The Fighter that went on to win academy awards for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Farrell's memoir What’s Left of Us: A Memoir of Addiction has been optioned for a movie and currently in development. Richie Farrell is one of the top substance abuse and motivational speakers in the United States. More Info @ My Heroin Life.
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