17yo son is smoking dope. How do I handle this?

(177 Posts)
BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 18:39:19

I have had suspicions for a while that his peer group have been dabbling with dope, and a bit of undercover sleuthing by me this morning has confirmed it.

It seems to have progressed from smoking dope supplied by others to buying it him/themselves.

I am alarmed by this generally, but also very specifically because we are having the first inkling of problems at college as well. We had a letter from college just before half term to say that he has missed 21% of classes since January.

When I asked him about this, he told me it was just one subject hmm and that he had been missing classes because he hadn't done his homework - but that he had realised how stupid he was being and had stopped doing it. He swears that he is now up to date with all his coursework/homework. (I haven't yet checked this; today was the first day back and I simply haven't had the opportunity to call the college).

How do I handle this? My natural instinct is simply to go ballistic blush which probably won't help matters.

Because of the issue with his work, he is already having his X-Box 'rationed' - he isn't allowed to use it until after 9.00 pm, and after he has done some work. This was put in place before the issue of drugs reared its ugly head.

He goes to a lot of sleepovers at the weekend, but only occasionally has friends staying with us. The last time was Saturday night, after a (very) late return from a gig, and I know now that they were smoking a joint here at 4am in our garden angry.

I have a lot of questions:

- how do I deal with this?
- how do I discipline in regard to this?
- would grounding help? (Personally I'm doubtful)
- should I stop giving him pocket money? He doesn't yet have a job to fund himself, so I could stop him buying it (although nothing to stop him smoking stuff others have bought)
- I know the boy (who was here on Saturday night) reasonably well, and also his parents. Should I call them and talk to them about it too? (I have no idea what their reaction might be/whether they know/suspect)

He is, in the main, a 'good' boy, and should do well in his AS/A-levels, although he is not really applying himself generally. I really need to find some way to sort this out so that he can do his best in the next few months, so that he can get decent AS levels.

If anyone has any experience of this and can help me with some/any/all of these questions, I would be very, very grateful.

AnAirOfHope Mon 20-Feb-12 18:49:58

I do not have a 17yo yet as my son is only 3yo but at 17 why do you not treat him as the adult he is?

Talk openly with him about drugs, ask him why he is doing this and what he thinks on the subject, find out the facts about smoking it and give them to him. Ask him to stop and if you catch him again tell him you will stop his money and that he will have to work to pay for his own drug habit as you are only going to pay for his education.

Then show him the letter from college and discuss that openly. Why is it only one course, can he change, is it vital for his future work and then tell him what you expect of him.

(Confiscating his game at 17 is a bit childish to me, he needs to grow up and relise you do not have to house him or pay for him to fail college)

sorry but its time you played hard ball with him!

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 18:59:19

I would love to play hard ball with him, believe you me. But I also want to be able to deal with things without just pushing him away, IYSWIM.

And removing his X-Box 'privileges' may seem childish, but it really hits him where it will hurt.

We're sitting down to have a conversation about it later, which is why I'm asking for help.

sunshineoutdoors Mon 20-Feb-12 19:02:13

I think maybe one way to play it is to focus on the legal aspect - and if it is going on in your home he is doing something illegal that could also implicate you as the homeowner? (unsure of the truth of this)

Is this something you are against generally or worried about because it's your son? Is it the fact he's taking the drug or the fact that your worried it might affect other aspects of his life like college? How you feel about it will probably affect the best way for you to handle it.

I agree an open, honest discussion about the drug and all issues surrounding it - what gets me most about weed is the possible mental health risks - is the way to go.

Different if he was 14, but at 17 he is almost an adult which I imagine makes punishment a complex issue. I don't have a teen but have been a dope smoking one and tbh it is a difficult issue (I kept it a secret from mine, I'm not sure how they could have handled it or if they could have made me stop tbh).

Keeping lines of communication open so that if any problem does arise they know they can turn to you for support re dependency, side effects, lifestyle and financial impacts and worries may be a good thing to hope for.

Sorry, I feel that's maybe not very helpful and possibly a bit too soft. I understand as a parent you'd just like to stop it happening but realistically this may not be the case. Although having a disapproving parent may go some way towards keeping a negative association of sorts with the drug, I'm not suggesting you go over liberal and 'right on' - you're the parent after all and if you're not happy with it you should make that clear, but be aware it could just keep happening but more carefully without your knowledge.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 19:05:18

I have been on the FRANK website, and have printed some stuff off.

I'm most immediately worried about its impact on his performance at college (and his attendance). I'm specifically worried because it's illegal - and if it's on our premises, we are liable too, so you were right there.

But longer term I'm terrified about the implications re mental health.

I'm not stupid/naive - I know that they all dabble/experiment. It's exactly what I did too grin, but I'd like to see it kept 'at that level', IYSWIM.

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:10:09

The Frank site is rubbish. Your son is almost an adult, Just air your disapproval.

You can't control him, just try to guide him. It's harmless and most people smoke a bit of dope at some point in their lives.

Bombarding him with crap off the web will cause a row, He will probably google his own stuff to show you in return. Is it really worth the upset?

I know a lot of families that have been affected by parents with serious control issues, like the pfb never grows up. Leave him be.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 19:12:51

Why is it rubbish? Where else should I look for 'better' information?

My son is actually a few days short of being 17 (blush I just rounded it up in my haste to post!), so he isn't really almost an adult yet.

I don't want to 'control' him, but nor can I leave him be.

And smoking dope isn't harmless. Or do you know better?

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:17:18

For information on cannabis? Where better than a cannabis forum?

I would take the word of a load of stoners over government on this subject anyday. Do you remember Professor David Nutt? He got fired for saying that cannabis was basically harmless and alcohol was the real danger, even though science backs this up too.

Or www.norml.org.uk/norml. Frank is shit, honestly. Its not credible at all. If you want convincing propaganda then hit google.

sunshineoutdoors Mon 20-Feb-12 19:18:44

I think that what you wrote in your 19:05 post sounds like a good way to address it with him.

You can say that you know it is going on and you know he's nearly 18 and legally an adult but you're concerned that it might be affecting his college and therefore his prospects for the future. You're not happy that it is going on in your house because it's illegal. Also you're worried about mh risks longterm.

I think what you said about knowing (and possibly expecting?) people to dabble will help him see that you are talking to him adult to adult.

I think putting it in the way you did in that posts shows you understand, and have concerns about specific things because you care, but ultimately acknowledges that you can't really stop him but you'd like to be able to talk about it.

I think as children grow up and have a right and need to make their own choices, being able to have an open and honest conversation about it and be a source of support is the best thing you can do as a parent.

vitaminC Mon 20-Feb-12 19:20:00

My oldest DC is only 13, but I honestly think it's fair enough to lay down conditions and punishments whilst he's still a minor, living under your roof and at your expense!

I would certainly stop paying for the drugs - if he wants to buy them, he needs to go out and get a job (which would also mean he keeps busy and has less time to hang around smoking!).

I would also set some expectation of results at college, which you know he is capable of achieving - not necessarily grades, but attendance, meeting deadlines for assignments etc. and remove privileges (car if he drives or lifts to places, games console, even mobile phone if necessary).

It's all very well wanting to treat him like an adult, but he has to be given the motivation to behave like one, IMO!

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 19:20:11

You see, BagO, I'm not prepared to take the word of a load of stoners because they have a very specific, vested interest in cannabis being deemed harmless.

Call me old fashioned ...

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:22:25

I would be more worried about my teens taking chemical drugs and drinking alcohol tbh. People go on about mh issues and cannabis, Alcohol is a serious issue though, especially with young people that don't know there own limit.

Honestly, If any of mine wanted to smoke, I'd not approve openly at all, but dabbling is part of growing up. I would rather they did it in the safety of their own home than out on the street with dodgy people potentially risking a criminal record or caution over something so trivial.

cybbo Mon 20-Feb-12 19:24:48

You need MaryZ BIWI she's the teen parenting guru

Hope you can get it sorted

I think I would voice dissappointment rather than drug facts, stress how easy it is for these things to spiral out of hand. Not sure grounding would help- is he the sort of boy who would go against your wishes? Maybe have his friends over to you more often?

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 19:25:12

I didn't say I wasn't worried about those things!

Dabbling is part of growing up. I said that. Been there, got the t-shirt.

Doing it in the safety of my home means I'm liable too - and I don't much fancy a criminal record, thanks.

cybbo Mon 20-Feb-12 19:25:35

Agree about money too- he coudl get a job

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:26:14

Why would they have a vested interest?

I don't recall anyone ever being physically addicted to, or killed by a pipe, bong or brownie.

Loads of american and European research on this too, Where I come from people are allowed to have it for illness. Its prescribed by a doctor, and deemed safe.

Vested interest, yes definitely. But not the way that you think.

Madlizzy Mon 20-Feb-12 19:26:38

It's bollocks that cannabis is harmless. I've seen a fair few lives wrecked by it. I approached my DS with the mental health angle, and that scared him silly when we both looked indepth into what it can do. I also chatted about how dope is far stronger now than it was when I was a teenager and can cause aggression rather than a craving for crisps and toast.

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:30:20

Madlizzy, Sources, please. I must see them.
Stoned people have this stereotype you see. I want to know where all these rowdy mad bong sniffers are, I have never met one and I have encountered many people.

cybbo Mon 20-Feb-12 19:32:36

Bag I dont think this is helping BIWI with her problem is it?

She's hardly going to say to her son , ' You carry on! It's good for you!!'

Madlizzy Mon 20-Feb-12 19:34:55

These are people I have known in my past. One male and one female, early 20s, went from being motivated individuals who occasionally had a toke, to dependent on skunk to get them through the day. Both ended up on the psychiatric ward, one with bipolar and the other with generalised anxiety disorder. Another friend who was round at mine starting to whip through my housework so I could speak to a friend who could supply dope. She was desperate for it. I'm not a complete innocent with regard to dope and I have also encountered many people.

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:40:28

No one is recommending that she says that cybbo, It is a hard situation, People are saying what they would do in the same situation.

Being mindful is important, There is a lot of info out there, The uk governments propaganda on soft drugs is absurd. Just looking on google for 2 minutes pooh poohs franks website, and going in all guns blazing when dealing with a young adult, who is their own person is a bad move.

I wouldn't want to give false info, or alienate my kids. Give facts yes. It is part of growing up though.

noddyholder Mon 20-Feb-12 19:40:33

I have done all the drugs in my 20s but was always a controlled sort of person and was very lucky to come out of it unscathed. Because of this I always thought it would be a nightmare telling ds not to. He is 17 too and I know him and his mates have the odd puff but my brother had a psychotic episode after smoking skunk ONCE and he had been smoking regular cannabis for years. He is now living on his own with no real life and is paranoid and medicated which he will never some off. This has not gone unnoticed by ds and he sees that his uncle has thrown it all away as it were and so he is cautious. I think maybe sit him down and explain that you have concerns about the mental and health effects and try not to go too far down the morality road.

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:44:41

Madlizzy, Bipolar is a personality disorder. Its not caused by anything. People that have it are born that way.

Your _heresay_source is bollocks, sorry to be rude but it is, Read up a bit on mh issues and then maybe you will know what it is that you are talking about.

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Mon 20-Feb-12 19:46:41

I like how its all along the lines of " i know somebody who smelt some skunk, then they went and murdered someone", much like the benefit bashing threads.

suburbophobe Mon 20-Feb-12 19:47:57

Best is to keep the communication open.

14 is such a hard age to deal with!

He is not stupid and knows - probably/maybe more than you - what it's all about and what the consequences are.

Let him be himself, if he wants to smoke, remind him he can do that for the rest of his life but right now he needs to get an education too.

My son has smoked marijuana since he was 14, (all/most kids do anyway at some point). I just sat him down and gave him the consequences and a reality check. And the limits of what is acceptable.

He's at one of the top unis now. (that's not boast, just the reality), smoking a joint doesn't have to mean "the end of it all"....

Medical marijuana is a reality too, and many countries decriminalising - Portugal, Switzerland, California (medical use)...

Just <breathe> and don't panic....and be there for him to offload.....

Madlizzy Mon 20-Feb-12 19:50:32

Bollocks. If someone has a tendancy towards bipolar, then strong cannabis can exacerbate the condition. I take it that you're a stoner? I'm not an innocent and it's not hearsay, they were my friends actually, one my sister's boyfriend. I'm not saying that every person who smokes dope is going to behave that way, but the risk is there, same as the risk of alcohol can cause problems with dependency. Defend it all you want if it makes you feel better. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

noddyholder Mon 20-Feb-12 19:52:40

My brother is 42. He was addicted to heroin for 7 years and decided when I was on dialysis to get clean and donate a kidney to me. Everyone was hmm. He did amazingly and when he had all the pre op tests the consultants said he was one of the healthiest people they had ever come across and there were no signs he had ever taken more than a paracetomol. The op went brilliantly and he was home in 3 days! 2 years later he smoked half a joint of skunk and the next day he threw away all his records and bike into the river as he said they were talking to him.The psychiatric team are in no doubt teh skunk triggered the psychosis.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 21:09:10

Thank you all for your input and suggestions.

We had 'the chat' this evening. I tried to keep the tone even and not to get cross and shouty grin

I made it clear that I knew and, to his credit, he didn't try and deny it, which meant I was able to talk about what concerned me about the whole issue (thanks sunshineoutdoors for pointing me in that direction).

He is adamant he isn't buying it himself, but I pointed out to him that his mates wouldn't put up with him freeloading for much longer, and therefore what would he do when he was pushed to buy it himself? I did ask him who was buying/supplying, but (not surprisingly) he didn't want to name names!

I also talked about the legality of the situation and the risks that he was taking.

And that up to now we have trusted him and that I don't want to be in a position where we no longer trust him to go out, or to be considering grounding him.

We also talked about our concerns about his college performance and how he was putting himself in a very vulnerable position at college. They have a very strict anti-drugs policy, which we reminded him of. Poor performance, non-attendance at lessons raises his profile 'above the parapet', and he needs to understand that.

I have no idea what the outcome of this will be, but we have, at least, started talking about it.

Anyone have a toddler they'd like to swap with me?

MaryZ Mon 20-Feb-12 22:05:12

BIWI I don't envy you. I will have a think and pm you tomorrow, but I won't join in on a thread full of people (wherever they came from) who think cannabis is harmless.

Cannabis has ruined ds's life, it has caused him to give up all his sport, lose all his friends and get kicked out of school. He has suffered bouts of depression and bouts of psychosis. Of his group who started smoking dope at 13, one is in a secure mental health unit, two are homeless, two are serious addicts and one is dead sad.

So I don't take the word of a crowd of stoners that it is safe. To be honest, my opinion is that they think it is safe because they are too stoned to see what it is doing to their lives hmm.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 22:44:38

Thanks, Mary. I was hoping you'd come along! grin

mrsreplicant Mon 20-Feb-12 22:51:02

I would bribe him off the dope using driving lessons and the carrot of buying him a car. But I would do anything - ANYTHING - to stop my ds using dope.

Having a car is cool and you can't drive while stoned.

cybbo Mon 20-Feb-12 22:51:52

Mary Z is v wise

Sounds like you handled it well BIWI

You told him your viewpoint and reiterated your rules

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 22:56:34

I hope so, Cyb. Goodness, it's not easy, this parenting lark.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 22:57:45

mrsreplicant - trouble is, where we live public transport is plentiful/easy - I don't think DS2 has any interest in learning to drive! And we can't even afford to buy ourselves a new car, never mind one for him.

mrsreplicant Mon 20-Feb-12 22:59:49

Oh, sorry. But if you can think up a big bribe for him, it might be worth having that in the back of your mind. For drawing on in desperation. God, I would do anything.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 23:01:24

Yes, I know what you mean!

3littlefrogs Mon 20-Feb-12 23:10:16

I am totally with MaryZ on this. 100%.

I have been through this with one of my sons. It was a desperate, awful time.

Cannabis drains them of the motivation to live their lives, work towards their goals. The temptation to steal, lie and deceive to get the stuff is huge.

Two of the friends who were/are addicted are still unable to function like normal human beings - 6 years on. No qualifications, no jobs, no motivation to do anything with their lives beyond the next joint.

There are always a number of people on MN who say that cannabis is harmless. IME it isn't. sad

I hope you manage to get through this OP.

BIWI Mon 20-Feb-12 23:15:30

Thank you, 3littlefrogs

sunshineoutdoors Tue 21-Feb-12 04:00:25

I think that's great that you're talking about it.

The fact you have talked sensibly with your son, without just freaking out at him, means he knows you disapprove but also that he can talk to you openly and honestly about it.

I'm not an expert at all but I think this surely must be more effective than just 'banning' him from doing it, as he'll just assume you don't understand and will carry on but hide it from you. Making him think more about why he is doing it and what he wants to gain from life in the longterm is more likely to make him stop imo, but I'm very interested to hear what others think.

BIWI Tue 21-Feb-12 07:59:09

I have been to talk to him this morning, to apologise if it seems that we're too much 'on his case', but pointed out that it's because we love him and that he is very precious to us.

Which generated a grunt in reply! So I know he's cross with us. Which I suppose is inevitable, given that he has been 'caught out'.

He doesn't talk much to us about personal stuff, although I guess that we never really initiate any kind of conversation either, so hopefully this is at least the beginning of some kind of a dialogue.

GOOD luck op. i have similar concerns with my ds, and college worries. and came on mn and they reacted from what i remember, the same as how some reacted to you. luckily some other posters had wiser words. i blame myself for being a crap teenager as well sad .. sigh.
seems like you can't make them do what you want them to do and they may well deny it anyway. fingers crossed some of what we say gets through to them

toddlerama Tue 21-Feb-12 08:34:26

OP, you are right to take it seriously. I "lost" one good friend and one acquaintance to skunk induced psychosis. Of course nobody can really 'prove' what causes mental illness, but it was flipping obvious to everyone who knew both of them that the changes came when they became heavy users. Neither of them considered themselves heavy users.

One client I assisted the defence team with on a murder trial in the US had what the prosecution deemed 'organic brain disorder' brought on by cannabis, not even skunk. They couldn't 'prove' it, but we knew they were right. sad

noddyholder Tue 21-Feb-12 11:04:45

Now that you have opened the talking keep it going. teenagers cringe inside but they are listening and a certain % does sink in and have effect. I have found this recently to my delight and surprise.A hug can be very powerful even at 17! smile

mrsreplicant Tue 21-Feb-12 11:31:03

AFAIK the link between cannabis use in teenagers and schizophrenia is well established, and has been for some years now.

Schizophrenia isn't an illness you would wish on anyone. The medication you have to take every day for the rest of your life has unpleasant side effects, quite apart from the effects of the illness itself.

MaryZ Tue 21-Feb-12 23:30:19

Hi BIWI, sorry I haven't got back to you.

ds1 has been home most of today, and I don't like posting about him when he is in the house. I'll come back when he has gone to work in the morning.

But it does sound as though you are doing pretty well so far smile.

BIWI Wed 22-Feb-12 00:07:24

Thank you grin hopefully that's true ...

lousloopy Wed 22-Feb-12 12:22:26

I have had a very similar problem with my 16 daughter last term. She has always been very studious and focuses but she started her A levels at college last Sept and everything changed. Like your son she discovered alcohol and Dope. He attendance at college was 81% last term
Just like you I wanted to go ballistic but I know that wouldn’t have achieved anything. For us the more I disapprove of something the cooler it seems to her and the more she will do it.
I think I surprised her when she got a calm reaction ( it wasn’t easy believe me) I didn’t punish her in any way I just opened up the communication channel and talked to her like I was her age. Understanding…getting it sort of speak. . I did play it down and drop in the conversations a few statistics about the long term effects of dope on young people. I also shared with her my own experiences of dope (all be it minor and a long time ago).
The effect has been good she no longer does it because she thinks its cool. it isn’t for her anymore because I have done it and appear not to care to much.. She still does it occasionally when she is at a gathering with peers. But she is open about it which I prefer. She doesn’t sneek down the back lane and doesn’t buy it herself now. I think she would do have just to defy “The Parents “if I had taken a different approach.

At this age I don’t believe you can dictate what they you can only guide and advise them.

With the college attendance side of it when I got the letter like you I showed it my daughter and phoned college whilst she was there. Again calm as if I was trying to sort it for her not judge her. I arranged an appointment for her with college but she went by herself to face her own music which she hated. I think that taught her a good lesson. This term her attendance is 94% much better.
The main thing is though she is SO much happier!

I know every child is different and although many have the same issues, I believe ours to be common the solution is individual. Best of luck BIWI . xx

BIWI Wed 22-Feb-12 12:24:06

That's very heartening, lousloopy - thank you for sharing that with me. smile

MaryZ Wed 22-Feb-12 22:57:06

Hey, BIWI, sorry I have taken so long to get back to this blush. How is it going atm?

The thing is that he is 17, which is very different from the 13 ds1 was when he started. You can't physically stop a 17 year old doing anything. Personally I don't think you can stop a teenager from taking drugs by grounding (they will break out), by threats (they will ignore), by punishment (they will resent you) or by money (they will steal or deal if desperate enough).

So the only thing you can do is try very hard to keep the lines of communication open. I do think it is worth pointing out dispassionately that your worry is (a) the legal aspect and (b) the affect on his schoolwork.

Cannabis is great for teenagers, because while using it they can relax (which a lot of boys can never do on their own: they are constantly anxious and trying to fit in, or do things properly). So they smoke dope and feel relaxed, which is great.

The trouble is that their bodies forget what it feels like to not feel relaxed. So when the effects wear off (and it lasts longer than the instant effect of other drugs), they then feel anxious and het up again, and they have forgotten that this is normal. They think there is something wrong, so they are desperate for a joint to relax them again. If that makes sense.

The problem, of course, is that you need a certain level of anxiety and caring about things in order to complete course work, to stay awake in class, to mind how your exams go.

So you smoke a bit of dope, think that how you are feeling is great, stop and feel stressed, so have a bit more, and gradually you get to the stage that if you aren't stoned, you feel abnormal, stressed, anxious, fidgety etc.

And by that stage your "norm" of slightly stoned has slowed down your work, damaged your concentration.

If you can explain this to him, though, you will be doing well. But if you can talk, those are the worries, and he might be able to see that.

From a practical point of view, I would say that (for fear of the police) you are banning it in the house. If you see it/smell it/find it you will bin it.

Concentrate more on the school element. Can you liase with the school? Can you have short-term achievable goals?

Finally, what else does he enjoy? The cannabis only took over with ds when he gave up sport. He filled the time he had otherwise spent playing games smoking sad. Try to get your son so set on activities he hasn't time to sit around wanting to be stoned. But again, it has to come from him. You cannot force him.

I don't know if this helps. Feel free to come and chat about it though smile

flow4 Thu 23-Feb-12 00:17:26

Just a couple of thoughts to add - basically I agree with MaryZ...

It's worth finding out whether he's smoking skunk or other types of cannabis. Imo, skunk is v nasty stuff, and can make some people behave horribly, and can trigger psychosis. It makes my son aggressive and, frankly, sometimes totally crazy. Other types of cannabis don't have the same horrible effects. Some young people are clued up about this and avoid skunk... The trouble is, it is far and away the most available type of cannabis these days, and once they've got a 'taste' for being stoned, they often get less choosy. If he is and can stay a 'weekend smoker' I don't think you need to worry too much, but if he starts 'school night smoking' you may be heading for some problems (Btw, I have smoked cannabis myself, and skunk occasionally, and have many friends who do, so my opinion is based on a fair bit of experience).

The other thing I have concluded from watching my son and other teens is that many of them seem to be using cannabis essentially to 'self medicate' and sedate themselves to deal with boredom. I think bright, 'activist learners' (people who learn thru doing rather than listening, reading and reflecting) are particularly at risk while they're at school. They are bored witless, and get into trouble if they amuse themselves, so they start getting stoned to 'take the edge off'. In an ideal world, we'd reform the entire school curriculum... But more practically, if you think your son might possibly fall into this category, I'd suggest doing anything possible to fill his time with activities and help him deal with boredom in other ways. It sounds like you still have some influence, so use it while you can! I wish I had sad

Bag0fsmeggyDicks Thu 23-Feb-12 00:56:58

Noddyholder,*frogs*, flow4 The psychiatrists that you knew need to retrain, cbd is actually an anti psychotic LOOK,

Psychosis Is not AND CANNOT caused by cannabis, In order to suffer a psychotic episode, one must already be quite ill mentally, as explained in this study here. Carriers of the Val allele were most sensitive to |[Delta]|-9-THC-induced psychotic experiences, but this was conditional on prior evidence of psychometric psychosis liability.

This basically means, A rare few people that already have a form of psychosis, and a genetic disorder don't fare well with thc, People that suffer psychosis don't really fare well in reality either.

Educate yourselves ladies. You sound very ignorant and you are sadly trying to blame nature for peoples personalities and dna.

MaryZ Thu 23-Feb-12 07:49:36

That's a load of bollocks Dick. I have educated myself. Now go and find some stoners to talk to - your attitude is spectacularly unhelpful here.

I think your points are right Flow. Self-medication is a good description of why teens start.

flow4 Thu 23-Feb-12 08:06:16

No need to be rude, BagO... All anyone here is doing is offering their opinions - including you.

Are you living with a teen who's using skunk? Cos if not, your opinion here is of limited interest to me... The many parents I know who do, including some who are smokers themselves, all agree it has weird, nasty effects on some kids. At the very least, it is a 'disinhibitor', so kids who are already behaving badly are less likely to be able to stop themselves.

I'll post a New Scientist article later (if I can find it, and when I'm on a pc not my phone) that discusses research showing that skunk contains a chemical that interferes with the take up of THC. TBut there's a lot of conflicting science out there, and when it comes to understanding its effects on teens, frankly I think it's less useful than the experience of level-headed people.

cory Thu 23-Feb-12 08:22:26

BagO, whether cannabis caused a mental health problem or triggered a previously unsuspected mental health problem is surely immaterial, seeing that we can none of us be sure that our ds do not have a lurking mental health problem that has not yet broken out and that might never break out unless there is a trigger.

Why take the risk since many people manage to grow up and have a perfectly happy life without ever trying dope? It's hardly an essential part of growing up.

My friend didn't know he had an underlying tendency to schizophrenia. By the time he did know it was too late to go back and not have the trigger.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 09:42:41

Ok but you sound very angry? Is that DNA or chemically induced? We spent years with these doctors and still see them and tbh I have seen it on a few occasions first hand.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 09:44:30

My brother was definitely affected by skunk and not regular cannabis. Hides thread now as I have no time for people like bagO who don't know teh difference between debate and anger and who use abusive tones to justify their own lifestyle choices. You are so obvious its laughable. Ciao!

TheSecondComing Thu 23-Feb-12 09:50:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chandon Thu 23-Feb-12 09:53:06

Hmmm....

Tricky.

I grew up in Holland, where it is not illegal, and therefore, oddly, not cool.

It is a bit of a thing for losers, dope heads, saddo's

I don't know how I will cope with my sons growing up in a country where drugs are perceived as "cool".

Better start thinking.

help....

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 09:58:30

TSC - I haven't automatically assumed that. I'm not totally stupid! There are other problems going on there, which have been dealt with in a different way.

Nevertheless, as a parent, looking at two, recent and new behaviours, it's easy to be concerned that one could be related to the other. I'm keeping an open mind at the moment as to whether or not that is the case.

BagO Whilst it is your prerogative to post anywhere on MN that you see fit, your posts are not exactly supportive of my problem or questions.

It's something I am very, very worried about. I am not looking for someone to come along with blanket assertions about something that they do. I'm looking for someone who can help me with my problems about how to talk to my son about indulging in a behaviour/activity that I do not like, condone and which concerns me very much in regard to my son's physical and mental welfare, and which brings with it the risk of a criminal record.

If you can't understand that this is why I'm posting, or don't wish to actually help me, please would you refrain from posting the pro-drugs views that you hold?

ledkr Thu 23-Feb-12 10:01:26

The problem as i see it is that its no longer the solid canabis that many of us dabbled with.Skunk is far stronger and can cause more problems. I worked in mental health and saw a few young lad who had psychosis from too much of the stuff (drugs screen showed no other drug) It can also cause paranoia and exasperate mental health problems. People get defensive about this but its true.
2 Of my 3 ds use the crap and i can honestly say they would be far better without it.They even admit this but it is such a large part of their lives that they cant or wont stop it.One is too stoned to keep a job for any length of time and the other works hard but spends his free time smoking it and never has any money for anything else. I tried it all when i first knew they were using it but if they want to do it they will.
They have boh left home now but i always made it a rule i didnt want to smell it on them and if i found it in my house id get rid of it. I was also carefull about money and even now get them presents and vouchers for xmas rather than cash. Its ridiculous. They have both stopped for long periods but then go back to it.I am gutted,both nice lads but wasted really.
They are even too unfit to give their brother a kidney he needs deperately.

ledkr Thu 23-Feb-12 10:03:25

chandon My brother quit smoking when he lived in Amsterdam grin

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 10:10:30

ledkr - that is sad about your brother sad

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 12:35:05

I have now discovered that the dope smoking is much more of a regular occurrence than I had hoped, and it seems to be a 'cultural' thing with his peer group, which makes it seem much more 'normal' to him, no doubt.

However, I have also discovered references to taking ecstasy, which I am even more concerned about.

MaryZ - i'm not around much today, but if you don't object, I'd like to PM you with some questions?

TheSecondComing Thu 23-Feb-12 12:35:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 12:38:27

Sorry, TSC - I do realise it. Just a bit sensitive to it all and feeling very fragile about the whole thing.

I didn't think yo were pro-drugs, btw.

And I'm posting here to stop me going in all guns blazing because I think you're right - it won't help matters.

Trouble is, I don't know what will help sad

TheSecondComing Thu 23-Feb-12 13:11:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 13:44:38

The academic thing we have treated separately. He is, however, his own worst enemy here. He has admitted that he has been cutting classes because he wasn't doing the work, and he hates the subject and he wishes he'd never chosen it. This despite us talking to him about it at the time, asking if he was sure he wanted to do it, wouldn't he have preferred something else, yadda yadda - he insisted this was what he wanted to do. Ever since he started his AS levels, any conversation has always about how things are fine, he's enjoying it, etc.

So to suddenly say he is unhappy with it was a bolt from the blue. He has now caught up with his work (he says). Re the specific subject, I have hired him a tutor so that he has a lesson once a week to make sure

a) he has a chance to catch up on anything he hasn't understood
b) has a chance to catch up on anything he missed
c) to give him a structure for learning and keep him focussed on getting a good result.

I'm waiting for his college form tutor to call me back to fix a time for us to go in and talk generally about his performance and what else/more can be done.

This has all been done without any reference to drugs - mainly because this occurred because the whole drugs things reared its ugly head!

And I totally agree with you about being mum rather than friend.

TheSecondComing Thu 23-Feb-12 13:53:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 14:13:02

We had all of this last year. Eventually ds was so behind and hated the course so much he left in April. It was a huge relief and since he re started there has been a huge change in attitude.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 14:13:34

Aso agree with tsc it dies pass but when you are in it it is awful

BIWI Thu 23-Feb-12 14:39:00

It is awful. It feels as if we're poised on the edge of a cliff - there's a perfectly good path going along the cliff and away from the edge. The other one goes straight over the edge.

Apologies if it sounds over-dramatic, but that's exactly how I feel. I have a horrible, sick feeling in my stomach about the whole thing.

Oh for the days when you could distract your DC by putting a different video on, reading a new book, pointing to one of their Thomas the Tank engine toys ...

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 14:53:22

I know BIWI but you can take comfort knowing that most teens even those whose parents think they aren't are dabbling with this stuff. Those with issues in general generally abuse it more and if you ds is anything like mine and is deep down a good kid he probably will not over do it. FWIW the one mum I know who said her son was the exception was rather deluded as her perfect boy is actually the dealer! My son is still a PITA at times but we just kept up the same rules even when he flouted them and he has definitely come round. maybe he could switch courses it made a world of difference here My ds has gone from his tutors just despairing on his 1st college to getting distinctions and being told he is producing work at a professional level at the new one.We sat ds down said we love you but don't like you and are disappointed and left it at that xx

TheSecondComing Thu 23-Feb-12 14:54:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 14:58:59

The thing is probably for a few more years this will be part of their socialising and as long as it doesn't impact on studies etc you may just have to keep up the disapproval but stop torturing yourself.My ds was really surprised when he realised that my brothers rather oddball(his words) existence and personality was not just the way he was born and was the result of drugs. I think this really has made him more cautious as he sees someone who had so much living the life of an old man at 42 sad

MaryZ Thu 23-Feb-12 15:54:59

That's fine you can pm me if you like.

TSC, I think the attitude of "back off, they all do this a bit" applies to and is effective for a fair few kids. Certainly there are a couple who started dabbling with ds1 5 years ago who never progressed from the odd weekend joint. And I think that is no more worrying (though the legal aspect bothers me a bit) than kids drinking on a Saturday night.

The problem is that for a significant number it become first every weekend, then every evening, then every morning before school, so every cigarette contains cannabis and they really cannot face a day without it. And it becomes necessary to treat these kids as if they were having a couple of shots of vodka every day before school and half a bottle every night.

There is a big difference.

And, in my experience, it tends to happen to boys more (because they often find school more difficult) and also to those whose "group" dabble occasionally from a young age.

Half of ds's group ended up in real trouble, half did fine - dabbled for a couple of years, then replaced with more normal teenage activities - discos, girls/boys, drinking, academics, sports.

And his group would have been the "vulnerable" group in school, the wild ones - one had ADHD, ds has Asperger's, one girl was definitely depressed. So, yes, they were always going to be the ones to watch, but also the ones hardest to influence positively, if that all makes sense.

MaryZ Thu 23-Feb-12 15:58:52

And I absolutely agree about the "don't go in all guns blazing" - that is a sure-fire way to make them say "sod off" in their heads.

The trouble is how to clamp down on behaviour effectively, without going in all guns blazing. That is the secret I never discovered.

noddyholder Thu 23-Feb-12 16:10:05

We have told ds that while he is at home and at college he cannot go out on the nights he has college the next day. It is v frustrating that ds wants a part time job and can't find one though as I think that would be the final link in the chain. Does your ds work? Does he go out in teh week?

bargainmad Thu 23-Feb-12 19:58:46

my son is 17 in July and has been "dabbling" with cannabis for the last 3 years. My lowest point was when he was excluded for smoking it in school at the age of 14. He was hanging around with a very bad crowd and was rebellious in the extreme until last summer.

Things improved enormously with his behaviour when he started sixth form college last September. Most of his new friends are decent lads but they all smoke cannabis too.

We have always been careful with how much money my son has as I have no doubt he would be a cannabis addict if he had plenty of money and freedom to do it. He gets £5 on a Friday night, £5 on a Saturday and £3.50 per day for lunch at college. I have no doubt he spends this on alcohol and cannabis but I have never had the proof recently about the cannabis.

Over the last month he has come in from college smelling of it - he never looks "stoned" so presumably it is not skunk and most of the time I couldn't tell whether it was alcohol or cannabis - either is extremely worrying, especially on college days.

He has also smoked it in the house recently when we have gone out when his friends are round and also when my 13 year old son is in the house. I warned him if I got the slightest whiff of it again all his money would stop as I am not funding cannabis.

We were gone for 2 hours last Friday night and when we came home he thought he had covered up well with air freshener but we could still smell it and then we found a box with 4 empty snap bags in his room.

He is now on his last warning and I have told him if he wants to smoke class b drugs he will have to find his own accomodation.

He always takes things to the extreme - there was no need for him to have brought it into the house and we didn't need to find it. I am sure a lot of his friends' parents don't know they smoke it as they keep it well hidden and would never dream of bringing it into the house.

He is not getting a penny until Easter (apart from £2.50 a day for lunch - down from £3.50) when I have said I will review it if I don't smell cannabis again.

He is the most laid back person with no motivation in life anyway, regardless of the cannabis. He has already dropped 2 A levels and is just scraping by.

I think I have done all I can for the moment but any comments from Maryz would be much appreciated.

mrsreplicant Fri 24-Feb-12 01:16:48

The tutor is a great idea, BIWI.

I would be worried about whether he needs to detach from his friendship group, though. And how he could do that.

Friendship groups are a bugger.

BIWI Fri 24-Feb-12 08:04:17

That's exactly what I'm struggling with, mrsreplicant - the realsation that it's such a part of his group.

3littlefrogs Fri 24-Feb-12 09:22:48

Bag0fsmeggyDicks - do you have a child whose life has been ruined by smoking skunk?

If not, please be very careful about the way you speak to parents who are in this dreadful position.

Leaving aside whether there is a relationship with schizophrenia, it is the fact that they become so dependent on the drug, which becomes the most important thing in their lives, they will resort to criminal behaviour to get it, they drop out of school/college/university, destroy their prospectsof employment, make their family's lives a misery..........the list goes on.

It is a nightmare.

ledkr Fri 24-Feb-12 09:33:49

I have to say my experiences of ds1 are that it doesnt pass. He is 27 now and up to his neck in it.It has definately without a dobt ruined his life,he cant keep a job,got kicked out of the army,has only fellow stoner friends,hardly sees his family,has a cough and brown teeth,is a compulsive liar and has a temper like a dragon. I dont think it will ever pass for him. I tried everything to help him over the years,started when he was about 15. I eventually had to ask him to leave at 18 when i had been cleaned out of my last bit of money,he even stole his younger siblings birthday money then shouted at me when i confronted him. He cashed cheques from my chequebook,sold all of dh's power tools and we had nothing left. The final straw was when we had death threats on xmas eve from people he owed money to.
I have had him home to sort himself out many times but he does it for a bit then gets back on it. dh took him running,paid for driving lessons,we kitted him out for the army and took him miles for appointments and interviews.
I will always be here for him but in his case i dont think it will pass sad

ledkr Fri 24-Feb-12 09:38:34

Oh and bago let me say that you may be able to blind us with science and studies but you my friend are the one who sounds ignorant with your nasty manner of talking to people who are experiencing real problems. I dont know what you are but i am a qualified rmn and i will disagree whole heartedly with you and so would the psychs i work with. The science and chemistry may not support it but real life does im afraid.

We have been through this with DS1 but we handled it quite badly (in hindsight) so I have no advice for you really, just lots of sympathy.

Just be wary of people who tell you this stuff is harmless. That is true for many youngsters but not all come through unscathed. DS1 hasn't touched the stuff for six years but is still suffering from anxiety and depression.

MaryZ Fri 24-Feb-12 10:09:37

There are about 30 parents on Mumsnet that I know of whose children have been really badly affected by cannabis.

And I know a dozen in real life whose lives have been ruined.

And yet people appear all the time saying cannabis is harmless. What they mean is that cannabis is harmless to them (though I suspect that is doubtful in fact hmm). It is certainly not harmless to many, many teenagers.

ds1's best friend committed suicide at 15 after a psychotic episode. The only drugs in his system at the time were alcohol and cannabis.

Laura, I doubt you handled it badly. You might have had a not-great result from the way you handled it, but who is to say the outcome would have been any different if you had handled it differently? I think that we can all only do the best we can at the time and try very hard not to blame ourselves for things we cannot control.

We all love our children and do our best. Sometimes the outcome isn't what we would wish, but that doesn't mean we have done it wrong.

Thanks Mary but it wasn't a good time for our family at all. We were complete innocents, DH and I, as we had never dabbled in drugs in our teens (too busy smoking and having sex like normal teenagers wink)

All the advice we were given, by our GP, by police officers, by other parents, was that it was all harmless fun. And for most of our son's group of friends, that was true. But for our boy (and two other boys that we knew) smoking skunk had devastating repercussions.

MaryZ Fri 24-Feb-12 10:44:43

Yes, the "harmless fun" attitude is sickening isn't it, when you can see your children destroying themselves in front of you.

The thing is, though, that we did the opposite - we didn't ignore, we fought every step of the way, we informed the school (which just got him chucked out, whereas the instigator denied it and is still there hmm), we kept him short of money, we tried out best to stop him.

The result was that he ran away, slept rough, disappeared for days, got involved with stealing and dealing.

Some people despise us because we "drove him to it" by being too strict, others despise us because we "weren't strict enough and didn't stop him".

But ultimately we did our best at the time. It has taken me five years, and only in the last six months or so have I truly stopped blaming myself for the whole thing. I don't blame ds either - we all did our best, unfortunately sometimes things don't go the way we want.

I used to be innocent too sad.

angrywoman Fri 24-Feb-12 12:19:42

As an ex stoner who lost 5 years to the stuff I think you have done something great just by talking to him. You have made an effort and got some info too, most crucially you have shown you care! I wish someone had done the same for me but I guess my parents thought it was just healthy experimentation.
The effects on my career and long term self esteem have been devastating. It took losing supply by moving town/ boyfriend in my 20's to break the habit. Even now I swoon if I get a whiff of it! Would not bother today though even if at a party.
If only it was seen here as in Holland!
Part of the attraction was being in a small group who did something illegal but it soon became like a personal comfort blanket. It's taken me years to feel like a functioning member of society as a whole.
Good luck OP! If your son keeps mixing and has other interests and friends all the better. Failing that, you are doing the best you can by showing you value him and have high hopes for him, for his future.

mrsreplicant Fri 24-Feb-12 14:19:03

Personally, I think "high hopes for the future" are key to stopping. The young person has to see that there is an alternative way to live, which will be lost if the drug use continues.

The "drugs are harmless" people also overlook the fact that some people - quite a lot - have highly addictive personalities, and get can desperately hooked at the drop of a hat; this addiction then leads to the "I don't care" behaviour of stealing etc. Not everyone gets addicted like that; but you won't know until they are.

ledkr Fri 24-Feb-12 14:51:49

Maryz ds1 and 3 use the shit I was strict and punative with ds1 and a bit more supportive with ds3,neither worked.Ds3 uses it to a less life harming degree.

The thing about the "its harmless" brigade is that they are usually users themselves or ex users. I always ask myself if i have ever met any heavy users who live a good life and are healthy.The answer is always a resounding no.

I think its about time the govt looked at it as we have areal problem in this country with skunk.I work in child and family and most of the youths i come across are users and its impacting on them and their families.
Id like to see rehabs for young people before they get really entrenched in it.

MaryZ Fri 24-Feb-12 15:08:52

I agree that it is a huge problem for teens. People always talk about teenage drinking, but you don't see too many teenagers at bus stops with cans of cider at 9 am on a Monday morning on the way to school.

But you do see kids with joints at bus stops on the way to school. And they are starting younger and younger - there are 13 year olds in ds2's class who he is sure are smoking dope regularly (he recognises the smell from ds1).

The Youth Drug and Alcohol counselling centre I attend is doing some studies on it at the moment, because cannabis is a massive, massive problem in Dublin schools, and is being linked to youth suicide, depression, psychotic behaviour and schizophrenia in greater numbers of kids.

The reason it is hard to get figures (apparently) is that a lot of the kids then move on to stronger stuff (because of habitual drug use and mixing with people who are more likely to use harder drugs) so it is hard to get figures for just cannabis.

But the feeling is that it is a lot more damaging that alcohol, and damages a greater number of teens than all the other drugs put together sad.

Hayleyh34 Fri 24-Feb-12 15:17:15

I am amazed that people can still say that it is harmless, it drives me crazy. We adopted our daughter a few years ago. Her birth father was diagnosed as schizophrenic due to the effect that cannabis had on him. It is known that her birth mother also smoked but as yet unknown what effect this could have on my daughter in the future.

It is not harmless

mrsreplicant Fri 24-Feb-12 16:24:57

Users move on to harder stuff because it's hard to recreate the best high you've had. It becomes a quest. A never-ending one.

PingPongPom Fri 24-Feb-12 16:34:39

Like others have said treat him like an adult and keep communication open.

Keep calm and don't panic.
Do, however, get well informed and then have the conversation with him.

I think keep respectful, it's his choice to smoke but it's also your house and you can set what boundaries you wish. A good way of starting a conversation is asking him what he thinks is reasonable for e.g talk to him about the money he receives from you and what he thinks is reasonable to spend it on. Ask him if he has any concerns about the longer term impact - cannabis is a depressant drug like alcohol, but also has hallucinogenic qualities if taken in large amounts.

Please try not to panic though, you are right to be concerned but the majority of teenage drug use is short term and experimental.

PingPongPom Fri 24-Feb-12 16:39:49

Maryz- it's not as harmful as alcohol. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug and kills more people each year than ALL the illicit drugs lumped together do.

That's not to say that cannabis can't be a big problem for many, especially younger people - and cannabis now is a lot stronger and more potent than 15 -20 years ago. But never underestimate alcohol, I've worked both here and in Australia doing drug support and alcohol always topped the list of clients we saw, in all age groups and both genders.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 16:45:38

I am not minimising the affect of alcohol overall, PingPong, I am talking about young teenagers, and cannabis is causing more harm to young teenagers here, where I am, at this current time. As in there are a greater number of teenagers being harmed by cannabis at the moment than by alcohol, if you see what I mean.

Alcohol tends to become a problem more in later life. And of course someone like my ds with addictive tendencies is likely to be affected by all these things in the end sad.

PingPongPom Fri 24-Feb-12 16:46:42

Maryz - just saw your earlier post and I'm sorry about your DS, it sounds like you made the decisions you did to the best of your ability at the time, families are all different and there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to approach it. I'm glad you don't blame yourself, I've seen so many parents over the years who feel so guilty and wonder where they went wrong but the truth is that drugs are so prevalent that it could happen to any of us parents on MN.

I'm not so naive to think that me working in the sector will protect and/or prevent either of my DC drinking or using.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 17:03:02

Thanks PingPong - it has taken me years and a bit of counselling to stop blaming myself. I think we can only do the best we can at the time, and keep a little bit of ourselves so that, one way or another, when it is all over we can get on with life.

I mean, ds1 is still alive, and still doesn't have a criminal record, and seems to be settling a little. When he was 13/14, I remember thinking that if he got to 16 without killing himself or someone else it would be a miracle. So we have come a long way.

Funny you should mention alcoholism as that is what DS1 is battling at the moment.

I don't know what the answer is. DS started smoking cannabis at 15 and we started off with a soft approach. By the time we realised this wasn't working, his behaviour had spiralled out of control and his personality had completely changed. We clamped down way too late and eventually ended up moving to another part of the country when he was nineteen to get him away from that lifestyle.

In hindsight, I think we should have emphasised our disapproval from the start and kept stressing what he could lose out on in the future.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 17:21:02

Hindsight is a wonderful think sad.

I worry about gambling too, atm. That seems to be the latest craze. Fucking internet poker and online horse betting.

It's all to do with getting an instant "get-away-from-reality" feeling, I think.

PingPongPom Fri 24-Feb-12 17:42:55

Ah Maryz, sometimes all you can do in these circumstances is look after yourself so you can keep yourself strong through it all. Someone's else's drug use is not something anyone else can fix. And it does sound like your DS (and you) have come a long way. Though I'm sure there are still times when you want to wail in frustration.

Yy to gambling - was a huge issue where I worked in Oz. The Internet makes it far too easy to spiral out of control too quickly.

Laura - try 'kindsight' rather than hindsight, don't waste time beating yourself up about past decisions that you made with the best of intentions at the time.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 17:44:49

Yes, exactly smile.

AwkwardMary Fri 24-Feb-12 17:52:13

Remove all pocket money. That's what my Mum did...it worked. I had a buss pass...lunch...no money.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 17:54:22

It doesn't always work Mary.

When ds had no money he was given drugs by his friendly drug-dealer, in return for "delivering" things for him.

Which was a huge worry, as he was only 13 at the time.

ledkr Fri 24-Feb-12 18:27:40

maryz how old is ds1? I blame myself still,i was young when i had him,the bond wasnt great but i did do my best and was devoted to my children. Ds1 is still not great and is nearing 30 so i tend to think he will never change.I dread the next crisis as i cant help but get involved and try to help.
The alcohol comparrison isnt a great one imo. Not many young drinkers drink all day like the young people do today and dont end up owing money to dodgy dealers who will be violent if necessary. White lightening is a pound a bottle wheras weed is a tenner for a bag to last a day.
My ds ended up involved with a couple who were exploiting him and taking all his money,the guy threatened him with a machete and they also injected him with speed whilst he slept.I ended up going to the house to get him when i was 5 months pg with dd1. It was only my pure audacity that didnt get me killed i think.

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 24-Feb-12 18:31:01

Get him to watch the film Midnight Express
Let him know that choosing to smoke illegal drugs is a political decision and the drugs trade directly results in misery for many

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 18:33:18

ds is 18 now. He hasn't stopped, and I suspect never will (or if he does he will replace it with something else), but he is on a training course and doing work experience atm, so seems to be at least considering having a future.

It is very tough for you with two of your sons using (and your third son is ill, isn't he?). My one hope is that seeing their brother go through the psychotic episodes means that both dd and ds2 are very anti-drugs of any type. But ds2 is only 13 so I don't think for a minute we are out of the woods with him.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 18:34:47

I have tried that argument EFA - the drugs trade supporting violence, people trafficking, prostitution, as well as much of the armed robbery, feuding and killing that goes on in the cities near us, but he doesn't seem to connect "a bit of dope" with any of that.

It's baffling.

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 24-Feb-12 19:43:46

tried watching midnight express maryz? It's v powerful

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 20:33:17

I've seen it. So has ds, as far as he is concerned it's irrelevant as "he only smokes a bit of dope".

It shook me up as a teen, but because of the crowd he hangs around with and their outlook on life, he feels it is nothing to do with his life confused.

I think that to be an addict you have to be able to close your mind to these types of things.

BIWI Fri 24-Feb-12 20:50:40

You only have to read some of the posts here - absolute denial about the impact/effects/consequences - to see that people just close their minds to anything potentially negative.

Maryz Fri 24-Feb-12 20:54:48

Sorry BIWI, this thread is a bit depressing and possibly not helping much.

But at least you know you are not alone smile

BIWI Fri 24-Feb-12 21:38:19

It is helping, actually. Knowing others have gone through this/are going through it makes me feel much better. And knowingvthat there are people that I can talk to about it who will understand and and not judge is amazingly reassuring.

TheSecondComing Sat 25-Feb-12 15:52:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ledkr Sat 25-Feb-12 16:18:13

the second comming Can i ask why you quit? I also have friends of my age who are regular users of solids not skunk btw one gave up quite recently and says she feels great for it,i dont know anyone on skunk tho who isnt a bit affected by it.

BIWI Sat 25-Feb-12 16:49:14

Yep - a perfectly valid POV. And I do appreciate that I am a bit hysterical over all this. Partly because it was a bit of a shock. Partly because of the evidence that things are escalating.

We have had a nice weekend so far, though. The odd reference to it but mainly avoided, in an attempt at normality and so I don't start labouring it.

Yesterday we had a cuddle, and talked about it - I said to him that I was very worried about the choices he had to make, and that he would/may make the wrong ones. He assured me he wouldn't - but I had to point out that he had already made some wrong ones.

DS1 is home for the weekend, so I've talked to him about it, which was interesting and helpful.

TheSecondComing Sun 26-Feb-12 01:41:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Sun 26-Feb-12 02:22:32

Can I ask TSC (and I'm off to bed so won't see your reply til tomorrow), did you smoke before school/work?

Because I never worried too much about ds1 until I realised that he was smoking every day before school, again at lunchtime (sneaking off school grounds) and then pretty much all evening sad.

He was smoking dope more than most people smoke cigarettes. And so were a fair few of his friends.

Also - I know he was vulnerable because he was self-medicating for depression and other issues. So I'm aware than most kids who start don't get to his stage (which is why I think the "go in all guns blazing" reaction is counter-productive).

But I do wonder whether anyone who uses to the extent he does can ever resume a "normal" life. He has barely had a day with no dope since he was 14 - that's four years now. Unless he accepts medical help for his anxiety/depression I can't see him managing without it.

PessimisticMissPiggy Sun 26-Feb-12 03:53:25

I've 'lost' two people in my life due to their addictions to smoking strong dope. My DB has serious unresolved mental health issues (paranoia, delusions and extreme rage) and is no longer in touch with our family. My best mate from school, who was an absolute genius and fucked up his life big time. Too sad. Too, too sad.

I personally had some bad experiences with the stuff in my teens. Once I smoked a joint passed to me, hallucinated and when I was dumped at my front door by scared mates it freaked my parents out. My mum kept a vigil by my bed all night and we simply referred to it as a 'drunken breakdown'. Apparently I was crying hysterically about how my mum was going to die and I was going to be left all alone (she was in remission from BC). For weeks afterwards, I was terribly depressed. Another time I smoked a joint with 'super skunk' in at a party and was found passed out in the bathroom. I was found vomitting but I wasn't conscious for 10 hours afterwards. I could've choked on my own vomit and died. My friend panicked about getting in trouble and just put me in bed. I was ill for days afterwards and missed so much important A-Level prep. My other experiences weren't 'bad' but they probably killed a lot of brain cells when I thought I was being all cool and intellectual. I messed up my A-levels and only got into uni by the skin of my teeth. Thankfully life has turned out well for me and I stayed away from it since I was 18.

Stupid cow. I don't know why I smoked it. To fit in with peers? Rebellion? I don't know. If I could go back and speak to my teenage self, I would strongly warn myself off.

Drug-driving is a real problem OP. Do any of your DS's friends drive? If so, urge him not to get in the car with them. They might think that they are ok, but reaction times are seriously reduced. I had a teenage friend crash under the influence of dope but the police couldn't prove anything, so he got a caution for reckless driving. You know what? He did it again and wrote another car off. I never got in the car with him.

ledkr Sun 26-Feb-12 08:48:44

grin at tsc yearning for her previous hedonsitic lifestyle.
I wonder if a lot of the problems is that they are addicted to the nicotine but dont disinguish,It. So just have a joint?

ds3 recently stopped for ages and joined the gym etc.He was a different boy,became very family orientated again and was funny and chatty.He spoke about how much better he felt and was scornfull of others still using it.
He continued to see his stoner mates and after afew months was predictable using again.
He says he will of course give up one day and one day after a few beers (doesnt drink normally) he cried at the hopelessness of it all and admited he felt dependent and that it was robbing him of his life sad
I can do no more but wait untill he decided to stop and pray he doesnt end up with a worse criminal record (has 2 cautions already)

I have 2 more to get through teen yrs i just pray they can resist.

I tried it a few times in my youth,i cant say i liked it,it made me sick and tired.

I admit to loving a line or two of coke during my party stage but never became addicted as i have never done with fags. I can still take or leave them too.
Id not do coke again though purely cos of the shit they put in it nowadays.

TheSecondComing Sun 26-Feb-12 08:55:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ledkr Sun 26-Feb-12 09:03:57

I know what you mean about the functioning users tsc I trained as a nurse in the 90's and we all mostly parties like mad and it wasnt uncommon to be mainlining fluids at 8am on a Sunday morning shock

It must depend very much on your tolerance and reaction to it all.
Ive never been able to drink a lot without a big puking day the next day.I have no conception of some of my friends who knock back wine,vodka and shots all night when we go out and then get up in the morning with a slight hangover whilst i am in bed with a bucket after sticking to vodaka an coke all night.
Even after surgery i cant handle the morphine so im pre dispositioned not to be a hard or heavy drug user.
Ds1 is most definately not a functioning user,he has no job,motivation or life really. He has his stoner friends and a rented room,at 27 very sad.

Maryz Sun 26-Feb-12 11:04:42

That's interesting TSC - so people can use heavily and then stop [hopeful]. I do worry about how much stronger it is now, though.

And I agree about the drug driving - ds1 has been to funerals of one very close friend, and 7 acquaintances to four different driving accidents in the last two years. These would be kids who are roughly his age and hang around the same places. The 7 weren't close friends, but were kids he knew by name.

Last summer his three closest friends were in a crash resulting in the driver losing his licence, one friend being in hospital for a few weeks with various broken bones, and another being in a coma for 10 days and losing half his insides - he now uses a colostomy bag. Luckily ds wasn't feeling well that night (hungover) and had gone to bed early.

All were dope users. And yet they all continue to drive while smoking dope.

BIWI Sun 26-Feb-12 11:32:14

Argh! Drug-driving - something new/else to worry about!!!

At this moment in time, I don't think any of them drive/have cars, so hopefully that's not an issue quite yet. confused

PessimisticMissPiggy Sun 26-Feb-12 11:44:52

Sorry OP but it is better that you're aware of all of the risks.

BIWI Sun 26-Feb-12 14:16:19

grin

Yes, I know - absolutely!

justonemorethread Sun 26-Feb-12 14:23:04

There's a fine line between treating him like an adult and being 'relaxed' about it and letting him mess up his A-levels.

He needs to know that you are aware of what's going on (at this point being reasonable is probably better than going ballistic, you still want him on-side), you disapprove, you realise you can't control his every move but you expect him to act like the adult he is (or he feels like, but we know he is not yet) and be responsible for the consequences of his actions on his future.

Spoken not as the mother of a teenager, but someone who should have done better in her A -levels and messed around far too much.

justonemorethread Sun 26-Feb-12 14:39:08

MaryZ As a teenager I was with the 'stoners' rather than the get drunk and go out pulling boys/girls crowd.
There is a wide variety within that group in my experience - the ones who were quite heavy users (as you describe), the weekend and occasional school-time user (just for the fun of it), the one who would just join in and experiment every now and then.

Of all my friends, the ones in the first bracket had the most trouble adjusting to adult life, and took longer to 'grow up', iyswim. But many of them did, funnily enough often taking up a sport obsessively (cycling and training for a marathon!), feeling healthy and a sense of achievement and finally getting noticed by the opposite sex.
Only one took it too extremes, and I'd say now is a healthy adult but didn't exactly make the most of his potential.

I'm all for the 'Ah, let them enjoy themselves and experiment', but I must say I was always quite mature for my age and kind of knew that as I grew up other things would take precedence.

Others in my peer group were more emotionally immature and probably had quite low self esteem, which I'd say would account for the majority of the heavy users. I also find often the 'deeper' and brighter (intellectually) teenagers suffer the most, and boredom and lack of stimulation is a great factor.

(you often would hear 'but he/she got all the A*s at gcse, what happened to them?')

I'm sorry that I haven't read the thread in detail, but maybe speaking to some of your DC's friends may help to give you a view of how bad they think it is for your dc may help?

<vows to be very patient with little toddler today bearing in mind what is to come>

justonemorethread Sun 26-Feb-12 14:51:04

Erm, just flipped back through thread and see that you are way ahead of anyone in wisdom re this topic, MaryZ, so please feel free to ignore my feeble post!

BIWI Sun 26-Feb-12 14:52:03

Please don't apologise for it, justonemore! Everyone's posts are helping, honest!

Maryz Sun 26-Feb-12 17:11:00

Don't apologise justone, it is great to read any and all opinions (apart from the complete "it never did anyone any harm" posts, which I have to admit piss me off a bit).

Unfortunately ds has given up school, all sports, all activities and all his friends, so the only people he sees are now pretty much regular users of various drugs and school drop-outs.

But he is beginning to talk a bit disparagingly about some of them and their attitudes to life, so I am hoping that our shockingly middle-class family values that he lived with for 13 years will reappear as he gets older.

He has always been obsessive about anything he does (he has a diagnosis of Aspergers), so I know that the one thing that would get him away from dope would be an alternative obsessions. unfortunately the only other interests he seems to show at the moment apart from drugs, are an interest in gang culture and guns, and gambling hmm, which are just as bad (for him) as using drugs!

But we just keep the lines of communication open and cross our fingers a lot.

BIWI Sun 26-Feb-12 17:58:59

Aspergers on top must make it even tougher, Mary.

Maryz Sun 26-Feb-12 18:26:15

Yep, hard to know what behaviour is AS, what is teenage hormones, what is drug related and what is pure innate obnoxiousness grin

confused

[wibble]

I have come a long way in the last couple of years though. No matter how awful things are/have been, he is still alive, which is more than some of his friends are, so he has a potential future.

And now the other two are growing up, and I know so much more, I know that horrible things happen to good parents, and i no longer give head space to those who "blame the parents", so I am much more content with my lot.

And I'm also lucky that I have never stopped loving him. That was my greatest fear, that one day I would look at him and think "fuckit, I really don't care", but I have never come to that.

justonemorethread Sun 26-Feb-12 20:58:16

Well Maryz and Biwi I really hope you manage to come through this tough time succesfully, I know my mum made herself ill with worry over my brother (though oddly not with me, even though my dad suspected the dope).

You're there for them and listening without antagonising them and also still telling them what you think. I don't think there's much more to it than that, eventually it will sink in, I'm sure.

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 26-Feb-12 22:46:57

DS4 took lots of bad stuff for a long time and left home and school at 17 after months of violence, agression and nightmarish times.

The things that seemed to get through to him - now 2 years down the line he seems clean and is working in a bank and studying for A levels too - were:

keeping the doors open so he knew he could ask for help
giving help without being judgemental (drove him to A&E X times without mentioning it was obvious his stomach pain was K-cramps)
taking him food often but not so often he didn't have to earn some money
talking about what he wanted for his future
keeping his GF (hmmmm) on side by involving her
the dog (she was good at unconditional licking)
random affectionate texts
random wind-up texts that echoed his crappy teenage complaints (favourite one was 'this is a joke, you didn't even put any onion in')
hanging in there and talking, talking, talking

SpringHeeledJack Mon 27-Feb-12 13:45:54

noteven

fabbest post EVER. Probably

I am going to tattoo it on something for future reference (ds is 13, but I am already a little bit worried)

Maryz Mon 27-Feb-12 14:00:14

I agree with all of that drummer. Can I add:

Look after yourself

It is very important that when your kids do come out the other side you haven't given so much of yourself emotionally and physically that you are just a shell. As a parent (particularly a mother as they seem to deal with a lot of the emotional shit), the stress is incredible, so being nice to yourself is of paramount importance.

So if any parent feels they are falling apart or losing "themselves", do go for help and counselling for you.

A lot of the time we cannot change our kids, but we can change ourselves and how we react to the challenges they throw at us.

Urbanrefugee Mon 27-Feb-12 17:12:29

I feel for you. I recently discovered my son had been using cannabis regularly for three years. Hes now 16. I had been concerned because his personality had changed. Quiet, withdrawn, angry interspersed with creepy and cajoling when he wanted something - and the lies! It has definitely had a bad impact on him. I'm worried sick. Had loads of conversations but he knows better. He's not allowed out with his "Weed" friends and we carefully monitor other outings but we can't keep doing this because it's not practical. He wont study for GCSE's and has given up on everything. Very difficult.

BIWI Mon 27-Feb-12 19:53:16

I'm sorry to hear that, urban sad

ledkr Mon 27-Feb-12 21:50:47

Mine is 27 and still lies to my face and anyone elses. He becomes very defensive if you confont him.He is currently not talking to me because i challenged him on one of his ridiculous stories.

I agree with all the good advice from drummer,I did all of that which probably kept him from getting into harder stuff.We had him home loads of times to sort himself out which he does for ages then messes up again and the whole cycle begins. He cleaned up long enough to join the army which required loads of input from the whole family but he only lasted a few months said he had an injury which he did but i cant help wondering if it was the weed,he certainly went back on it when he came out.

I have had to back off for my own sanity as the other dc also need input.If im honest i think its too late for him to change now but i live in hope.

My DDs are still little but reading this thread with interest. MaryZ you always have such good advice and interesting outlooks.

When I was in my "dabbling days" as a teenager, my mum took All The Coolness Away by knowing what a roach clip was. Must say that honestly made a difference. Has that been anyone else's experience - being calm, honest and open maybe takes away some of the mystique (not sure if that is the right word) for them?

Didn't stop me binge drinking though and I do still wonder which is worse. For me I think the idea that cannabis use can lead to stronger drugs is the main scary point.

Good luck OP I hope it all turns out ok.

BIWI Wed 29-Feb-12 11:08:08

Big test this weekend. DH and I are going away from Friday to Sunday - has been arranged for a long time - leaving DS2 home alone.

I asked him to arrange to have a friend come to stay, which he has done for Friday - but it's one of the friends I know he's been taking drugs with, so I'm a bit hmm. I have already told him that drugs will not be allowed - of any kind - and he has agreed. Supposedly.

noteventhebestdrummer Wed 29-Feb-12 13:05:38

Erm...this does not sound sensible! You know you can't believe him don't you? Can he go and stay with a relative?

Maryz Wed 29-Feb-12 13:07:48

I wouldn't leave ds alone in the house overnight. All the local stoners would appear as soon as I went up the road - he would get a free supply for a free gaff for the evening.

It will, I suppose, give you a very good idea of how bad it has got. But don't kid yourself he won't be using just because you have told him not to sad.

BIWI Wed 29-Feb-12 14:25:22

I have no other option. No family nearby, although I do have a very good friend who lives down the road who will keep an eye out/on him.

It will give me a good idea how bad things are - and I'm under no illusions that just because he's promised me, that things won't happen sad

Maryz Wed 29-Feb-12 14:34:20

It is so difficult.

We haven't had a family holiday away for four years - not since this all started, which is terrible because our holidays were great before that.

We haven't had a weekend away, apart from one night three years ago where we got my mum to house-sit - ds refused to come home while she was there, and a night away last year where we told him we were going out for the day and then rang at 11.30 at night and said we were staying over.

We did have a lovely weekend last summer with the younger two, booked at the last minute when he was in Spain, and he came with us shock for my dad's 80th at a hotel recently, which was lovely.

To be honest, I was more worried about the house than about him - where we live is very vulnerable to "X has a free gaff, let's go trash it" type parties sad

I hope you have a lovely time. Try not to think about it when you are away - worrying won't stop anything, and even if it is a bit of a disaster, you will have had a break while you are away grin.

Witco Thu 01-Mar-12 14:43:22

Our DS started out as a nice, well-educated and polite young man who began dabbling in headshop drugs and weed at 16. At 19 he scraped through his A levels, dropped out of uni (went for 2 weeks), has spent the past 3 years smoking weed and now has no interests or energy. I comfort myself that he is still alive, relatively healthy and speaks to us. He is either zonked or grumpy or being over the top nice so he can wheedle money from us. I'm sick of it but don't know what to do - catch 22 and frankly, we're exhausted. We went away without him one weekend, he stayed with my sister but sneaked home and had lots of stoner friends round who wrecked the place. My sister knew nothing about it til we returned home. He lies all the time and is completely unreliable.

Maryz Fri 02-Mar-12 23:20:12

I hope you are having a nice break BIWI smile

Witco, does your ds have a job? Can you make a time-limited plan for him moving out? I think if ds doesn't change in a year or so we will have to move him out somehow.

Delicateflowermum Sun 04-Mar-12 01:45:48

Thankyou BIWI
I googled randomly seeking (as i do every weekend) views/support/anything that will help me get through another week of motherhood. I found you guys and haven't stopped crying for the past hour while i read through the free flow of views/support/ideas on thisfrom your community.
I am a mum of 4 and my youngest two are 16 girl and 18 boy. I have been struggling for 4 years now with my daughters drug use and self harm etc and my son's alcohol abuse and self harm.
BIWI My questions are
How do you mums keep them at home?

In the past 4 years our teens have not spent more than 2 consequetive weeks at home(usually just one or two nights before she goes back to her stoner friends and he goes back to his "couch surfing". They both say it is because "they can't live up to our expectations/house rules"
* No drugs at home and no coming home stoned
* No drinking except at parties etc on weekends
* Work/job search or school 5 days a week

flow4 Sun 04-Mar-12 09:27:50

Wow, delicateflower, I struggle to cope with one... It must be more than twice as hard with TWO, where they can kind of back up and encourage and reinforce each other! I often think the teenage ego is so huge it pretty much equals two adult egos, and this Ego Effect (I tell myself) is why A Teen talks so much shit Is Always Right... hmm
Two parents acting together can sometimes just about 'balance out' a teen, but single parents like me have little hope!
You've got two, and they will be telling each other they are right and you are wrong about everything... Maybe it will help to think of them as, effectively, a 'gang of four'... No wonder you are finding it hard!

I don't have an answer for 'how do you keep them at home'... My son keeps coming back - so tho he hasn't been home the last 3 nights, I have seen glimpses of him as he passes through the kitchen for food, and yesterday afternoon he spent 6 hours sleeping/unconscious on the sofa. I guess I'm beginning to ask myself the opposite question, and I wonder whether you ask it too? - ie, How do I get him to leave?

Witco Sun 04-Mar-12 17:57:03

Maryz, DS doesnt have a job. He helps round the house to get money for whatever he needs - small amounts as he is expected to do basic stuff for his bed & board. When he is not doped up I get glimpses of my lovely boy but it doesn't last! Heartbreaking really, it's amazing how our standards have been worn down over the past few years angry

Delicateflowermum Sun 04-Mar-12 21:51:42

Thankyou flow4,
I am married to a perfect angel DH (7yrs) but unfortunately he is not the biological father of our 4 children. He is the most patient but FIRM dad with them.
I would like to say though, having been a single parent with the 4 i found it easier alone at times as at least i didn't have the guilt of not having the time or energy to spend much quality time with DH for months at a time due to depression and stress. It is very hard to maintain a quality marriage when you feel so drained from either the stress of not knowing where they are or knowing where they are and waiting for the emergency hospital visit or midnight HELP phone calls.

Catch 22: abandon motherhood to have a life with my DH or just keep coming up for air until i have no strength left and no DH either.

and yes we do want them to leave home... and that is where the stress comes in as they clearly do not have the life skills they need yet to do it successfully.

Delicateflowermum Sun 04-Mar-12 22:39:42

BIWI, you are doing everything soooo well smile
The mums on here sure have some excellent ideas.

IMO, Congratulate yourself and take your son out for a celebratory dinner and tell him how proud you are that he is making better choices.

My one regret from our earlier days is that i probably didn't give DS and DD enough acknowledgement of how hard it was for them to resist peer pressure and do what the "uncool" mum says. If i had my time again, i would still have had the big growl and heart-to-heart when i first found out, but then i think i would ignore anything they did away from home and spend more time and energy on spending time with them when they made "good" choices.

Celebrate any successes...

BIWI Sun 04-Mar-12 22:49:54

Thank you!

An update - the weekend seems to have gone well. DS had friends round on Friday night. I had a friend go round and check that they were ok and all was quiet. He didn't go out last night.

I am under no illusions that this is the end of it - and to be honest I really don't know if any drugs were involved this weekend, but at least we were able to go away and leave him.

So far, so manageable.

noteventhebestdrummer Mon 05-Mar-12 19:32:13

That's a good way to look at it I think. In little tiny stages.

When DS was at his worst I made myself NOT think about him half the time because it was so awful. Even numbered hours of the day were times when I just blocked him out of my mind as far as I could. It helped a bit. Meant I also kept things going for youngest DS as much as possible too.

JC777 Tue 13-Mar-12 16:17:32

Suggest you tell dear son that many experts now believe heavy cannabis use leads to psychosis = a life in hell.
Encourage him to research it for himself.
Cannabis is now much, much stronger than a generation ago - we're in new territory.

JC777 Tue 13-Mar-12 16:19:12

see this thread http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1158873-devestating-effects-of-weed

BIWI Tue 13-Mar-12 20:18:27

thanks, JC777 - will have a look at that later (have to work now sad)

We had a talk at school to all of our Year 11 and Year 12 students by this lady who has set up this charity here here. She said that the professor at Cambridge that works with children (11 - 16) affected by addition says that the skunk of today, which is modified for the purposes of mass growing indoors, compared to a generation ago is like comparing a glass of water to a pint of vodka in terms of its strength. I don't want to scare you BIWI, but more making the point to those that think smoking a bit of cannibis is OK because they did in in their youth and they were OK is extremely naive.

It was very frightening hearing about how quickly her children made the change from smoking dope to 'trying' a heroin spliff to becoming full blown addicts injecting themselves leading ultimately to the death of one of her children. She spoke very well and very clearly and that link above is to her charity which might be worth contacting if you had any questions or wanted more 'professional' advice.

Witco Tue 13-Mar-12 22:07:13

That's scary THP but not surprising
, having watched DS struggle over the past year. It's so worrying for us parents

Maryz Tue 13-Mar-12 22:27:34

MrsHerculePoirot - that fits in with what I said on the other thread that JC linked to a year ago sad.

Where I go for counselling (a centre for youth drug and alcohol problems) cannabis accounts for by far the most problems in teenagers. Although alcohol and harder drugs can, eventually, be a greater problem for an individual, the sheer number smoking dope on a daily basis is quite frightening.

ds2 is now 13 and knows at least four kids in his school year who smoke dope before school sad. Which is how ds1 started. And there is no point in moving schools - every school seems to have the same problem, the only difference is that some admit it, some pretend it doesn't happen in their school hmm.

flow4 Tue 13-Mar-12 22:34:58

I was talking to a friend this evening about how the culture/norm seems to be changing: kids are now rolling spliffs and smoking them in the street, totally openly, in Manchester and in the village where we live (about 30 miles away from there) - they weren't so brazen about it even a year ago.
It makes me worried, particularly because teenagers also like/need secrets... So if they are smoking skunk openly, what are they doing secretly? MCAT/mephedrone at least, in our area sad sad

ravenAK Tue 13-Mar-12 22:49:05

Ah now that link is a tad misleading.

It's (very) unusual for teenage cannabis users to be 'groomed' to try a heroin 'spliff'.

Quite apart from the fact that heroin doesn't get smoked in spliffs, a far more usual model than 'naive teens being lured by evil dealer' is a group of 'occasional' users buying (often taking it in turns) from someone in a group of 'regular' users who will again be taking it in turns to buy from a dealer.

Of course, that makes the occasional/regular user who is buying for him/herself & their mates...a dealer.

It is endemic in schools, I'd agree, & I hate it, as a teacher, parent, & occasional dope smoker in my youth.

I tend to point out to the students that I teach that I took shedloads of drugs, absolutely, for example, when I shattered my elbow joint or had any of my 3 kids.

'& I've very little idea what happened there for several hours...try that for several weeks/months & watch your less susceptible mates head off to college without you'.

Mostly my year 10s & 11s know the score because a few of their cohort have dropped out, with predictable results...I worry about the year 7s who are still naive enough to think it cool.

Maryz Tue 13-Mar-12 22:53:41

And of course, I assume you worry about the few who have dropped out.

Well 'spliff' might well be the wrong term, but smoking heroin is big problem whatever you call what it's being smoked from and it is an 'easy' step between what many people see as harmless to something they never imagined they would do (inject).

Of course being groomed for drugs is not necessarily 'usual', but at every stage of the dealing chain you have people. In the lady's story on that link her sons were 'only' smoking dope, others they were with were passing round a heroin joint (whatever it is called) and they asked to try it as they couldn't see that smoking it 'once' could be any worse than smoking dope.

Many teenagers think it's ok to try something once, and they all think addiction won't has own to them. Sadly very many of them are wrong.

Sry that meant to say people in the dealing chain who need more customers to fund their habits as they grow and who care less and less about how they do this.

ravenAK Sun 18-Mar-12 03:01:37

Maryz, I do - of course I do. Apart from anything, it's bloody near to impossible to turn around a failing GCSE year once you have lost a load of ground whatever the reason - I've taught KS4 students who've suffered from cancer, had twins, lost a parent, had an elder sibling murdered by a family friend - & I'd say that a dependency on cannabis as a 15-16 year old can mess up your prospects just as much as any of the above.

I can only teach the kids who are physically in front of me, but yes, I do worry about the 'lost boys' - it's disproportionately boys when it comes to dope. Often I've taught them in year 7,8 or 9 & it's horrible to see them fading out of their own lives...

Mrs HP - I'm not saying that no-one who smokes weed goes on to heroin, just that it's perfectly possible to hang around with s mokers, smoke regularly, chip in to buy quantities occasionally, & never have anything to do with 'harder' drugs, simply because there's often a few links in the 'I'm not a dealer, I'm just getting this from some bloke I know for me & my mates' chain before you come close to someone who's actually making a living from drugs.

If anything, I think cannabis does more harm to more young people than Class A substances simply because it has the 'not really taking drugs, it can't be, my mum used to smoke it' reputation it does.

Witco Tue 27-Mar-12 20:42:20

We finally kicked DS out today. Woke up in the wee hours to the acrid smell of weed & voices downstairs. Went down to find DS and 2 friends smoking dope in the kitchen. It was the last straw so I kicked the friends out & explained to DS that he was showing complete disregard for us by bringing drugs into our home & should pack his bags & go today. So he's gone. What now?

sameshoestwice Sun 01-Apr-12 18:55:03

I am so glad to have found this thread, as I have just found a bag of what I now know to be skunk in my nearly-17 year old son's bedroom and wondering what on earth to do.
I've suspected for a while that something was going on - he's not very clever at covering his tracks, but yesterday there was a very powerful smell around in his room and today, as he's at a friend's until much later, I had a look round and found a plastic bag of the stuff in his drawer.
I haven't noticed any difference in his behaviour. He's still his usual affable and good-natured self. He just had a very good school report, and appears to be revising for AS's. He mixes with a similar crowd, all of whom as far as I know, are doing ok academically.
He doesn't have a job and gets £10 a week pocket money from me. I am wondering what this stuff cost, and where he got it.
We can and do talk about things. His father died 3.5 years ago, when my son was just 13, and this brought us extremely close as a family. My daughter is now 20 and doing well at uni. She'll be home tomorrow.
I did talk to him a few weeks ago about dope - without asking directly if he was using it. He said that he didn't think it was risky, nor could lead to hard drugs or psychotic problems 'unless you've already got them'.
Now I don't know what to do. I do leave him on his own overnight sometimes, and have various trips away planned for the next few months. He knows that I trust him not to have parties etc, and so far he has always respected that trust. Now I'm thinking I may never go away again and will have to cancel my plans, which include training for a new career...
I do not want to have a big row, and realise that it's probably going to be impossible to stop him. I have bought him a ticket for a local festival for his birthday (June), so there's a lever there...
There's so much good advice in this thread. BIWI - how are things going now with your son. Can you, or anyone else, offer me any advice?

MIchaelP Tue 17-Apr-12 13:41:58

I'm also glad I've found this thread. I'm the dad of a 14 year old boy who has just been expelled from (private) school for being caught in possession of cannabis. It came out of the blue for us - we had no idea he was involved in cannabis or anything else for that matter. He is an otherwise articulate and bright lad, but has recently been developing many traits which we attributed to being a teenager - becoming withdrawn, secretive, apathetic and often sullen and argumentative.
After he was expelled we discovered from his mobile phone text message history that he had been using and dealing cannabis regularly for about six months. Basically he was smoking and drinking with a group of kids at the park on his way home from school and at weekends when he was on his way to sleepovers. We had naively trusted him and he has only grudgingly admitted what he has been doing.
Now four months on, after much angst and tears, we have moved to a new area and have managed with a lot of difficulty to get him into the local state school. We thought the shock of being expelled - and losing contact with his school friends would have brought home the seriousness of what he had done, but it seems not.
A week ago we found that is back into his old habits, this time through Facebook. He had friended a circle of about ten other kids who are drinking, smoking and using cannabis whenever and wherever they can. He has been trying to buy cannabis for himself and for his mates. When we aksed him about this, there was no remorse, just a shrug of the shoulders and an attitude of 'everyone else is doing it, what's the big deal?". So now the mobile phone has been confiscated, Facebook access blocked and he is 'grounded' until we can decide what to do next. We've tried talking about it with him calmly and trying to get him to discuss what he's doing, but he just goes into denial and shuts down.
Not sure where to go from here. We can't lock him in the house all the time and escort him to and from school every day. So we're just taking one day at a time. We have tried to get him involved in many activities, clubs, music, etc - he just interested, he wants to hang out with his drinking and smoking friends. Any advice welcomed!

Witco Tue 17-Apr-12 22:40:55

So sorry to hear your story, just one more child lost (temporarily I hope) to weed. I have no answers or magic wand, just empathy.

BerniW Wed 18-Apr-12 15:10:53

Sorry to hear about your troubles sameshoetwice. It may be worth investing in some cannabis testing kits. They can be bought relatively easily (and cheaply) online and can detect traces of cannabis in the urine up to 20 days after use.

I bought some a few months back as I feared for my ds2 (16) and his low-life friends - haven't used them yet though. The tests arrived by post the next day (I can't remember the name of the supplier, but there are lots online). I have arrived home on a couple of occasions and smelt something "odd" in the house after he's had friends round. He knows I own the tests and I've told him I will use them if and when I feel I need to - which I haven't since.

If your son knows you will do spot tests whenever you like, it may be enough to make him think twice. Sanctions would have to be put in place if you discover traces from the tests - come down on him like a ton of bricks! This plan of action relies on him being willing to give you a urine sample and him actually saying he's going to stop, of course. Good luck. x

poohbearrocks Mon 21-May-12 23:03:59

Excellent series (two programmes) on Radio Four. The last one was this evening but you can get them on play again.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hw7mj

hope they help someone - food for thought for me.

<hope no one is looking - hug>

HighBrows Wed 23-May-12 09:10:11

I'm also glad I found this thread, thanks everyone for sharing your stories. It really helps to know that we aren't alone.

My DS is 16 and has been dabbling with drugs (all kinds) since he was around 13. I didn't know until last year. He has cleaned up his act somewhat but is still smoking weed.

It seems to be pandemic, I don't remember it being so widespread when I was a teen - I also dabbled but not to a huge extent.

When the problem came to light last year I brought him to an addiction counsellor. She frightened him but not enough to make him stop.

I also went to see two different types of addiction counsellors and the tips are as follows:

Do not keep a teens drug use quiet - do not be an enabler. I tell people that he takes drugs, I've told all our family and his siblings. My son didn't like this as it made him feel a bit ashamed (not enough to give up).

Keep your teens as safe as possible - give them a place to land.

If at all possible keep them in education - my son is no longer in main stream school but in a school for difficult teens, he seems to be ok in school at the moment.

Be quietly disapproving, let them know you don't want any drugs in or around your house.

Finally, be extremely kind to yourself, this is no ones fault. To blame myself is a fruitless excersise.

It's hard to know what the future holds for my son, some days I'm hopeful that he'll come out the other side, other days I'm not so hopeful but I hang in there. I worry mostly for his mental help, I believe he started using drugs to self medicate to silence those horrible teen angsty voices we all had. For now he eats well, has a safe place to sleep, doesn't have a criminal record and goes to school - that's the best I can hope for.

As parents we'll all get through this and I hope are teens come out the other side as unscathed as possible but it is hard isn't it?!

MummedOut Mon 28-May-12 17:47:06

Help! Please! Two weeks ago dh and I discovered dd3 was smoking pot. We confronted her when she got home and of course, she gave the expected line - it was just once - I was just experimenting - I am so embarrassed - It will never happen again - blah blah blah.
I asked for her mobile phone - which is actually the family mobile she was using as she was driving the family car! I checked texts etc and found to even greater shock that dd1 - 8yrs older, graduated uni, working in city about 300m away - was aiding and abetting with supply, utensils, tips to cover tracks and assistance deceiving us. Massive bucket of cold water in the face! Terrible tension in the house since. DD2 and 4 still at home - dd2, 22 graduated uni, working locally, living at home; dd4, 14, big adjustment to gcse workoad! I feel as though my family has collapsed around my ears! I was a wahm until started teaching at the local school 9 years ago. dd3 is grounded and i have tried to keep lines of communication open but she is very angry and hostile. She doesn't think it's any big deal! I have since discovered that this has been giong on since last year! She is an excellent student and grades have not fallen off yet but this is her most important year for exams etc. I have since discovered that she has been smoking pot since last year and has put herself in some tricky situations - I cannot believe I am so blind and stupid! We are quite strict and she does not go out during the school week and must be home by 10 on the weekends. I feel I have noone to talk this out with - my own sisters are usually great for advice and tips but not this time, I think. So... Help! Please!

Schizophrenia one word. Has destroyed my brothers life and many others. Teenage dope smoker. He is now 47 and is finding it harder and harder to get casual work due to his age and younger people filling the jobs.

He has no home, never married, no family, wont stay in one place for more than a few months as he is being followed. Cant hold a conversation, is anti social, rants and raves.

This is enough to put anyone off smoking any of that stuff.

To add to the above message my brother has a law degree, extremely intelligent but he only manages to get menial jobs when he has an amazing brain. Mental illness from drugs has taken over his life. He refuses to claim benefits but amazingly manages to keep himself clean and tidy. His possessions are meagre. My Mum puts 200 pounds a month into his account so at least she knows he is eating. She is 81 and he is 47. Please get your children to read this. We are a normal family, he was an exceptional teenager who lost everything.

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