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Young people and concerned parents

Stacey Child

Stacey Child is the Manager of the Alcohol and Drug Support Service (ADSS).

ADSS is a multi-channel State-wide, 24/7/365 counselling, support, referral and information service for the community of Western Australia.

About this resource

This resource has been developed as a self-directed PowerPoint show. You will be guided through a scenario of an anxious and worried parent who discovers their child may be using drugs. As you progress through the PowerPoint, you will be asked to reflect on the scenario.

Key points

  • Most young people use drugs intermittently and contextually (i.e. at a party or gathering).
  • Most young people do not become dependent on drugs.
  • Peer group is important to young people but fundamentally the most powerful role model often for young people is parental behaviour and modelling.

Listening to the parent is helpful

Listening can be very helpful to a parent who may be sharing this information for the first time. Take a few minutes for the parent to tell you how they feel, what their concerns are, what else may be worrying them and what is happening for their child.

Stigma and shame are often associated with disclosing this type of information and it will assist the parent greatly for the GP to have a non-judgmental stance in relation to the parent and the young person.

Impact on the parent

How is this impacting on the parent? If they are speaking to the GP about it, they are worried. Try and see how this is a problem for them and their family.

Has this created other health issues for the parent? Are they more anxious, depressed, displaying physical symptoms?

Parents find raising the issue with their child difficult. Most often parents do better in raising the issue if they remain as silent as possible whilst the young person is telling their story.

This information sheet from the National Drugs Campaign provides a good summary of why teens use drugs.

Other resources

The Parent and Family Drug Support is a program area of ADSS and provides family sensitive practice via telephone support line, Parent Peer Support Network, facilitated groups and support at Drug Court.

The Parent and Family Drug Support provides a 24-hour telephone counselling, support referral and information service staffed by highly experienced and professionally trained counsellors for people who are concerned about a child’s/sibling’s alcohol and drug use.

Parents who contact the Support Line have an opportunity to talk to and get support from a trained Parent Peer Volunteer (PPV).

The Parent Peer Volunteers have the lived experience of dealing with concerns around their own child’s alcohol and drug use.  Parent callers find it beneficial to obtain support from someone with a lived experience.

The PPV’s are available from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Parent Peer Volunteers also provide face-to-face support to parents in the Perth Drug Court and facilitate parent courses and support groups in the Metro Area.

Contact Number:  9442 5050, Country Callers (Rural landline toll free, mobiles at provider costs): 1800 653 203

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