studious clever teen using drugs(65 Posts)
Anyone have experience of a teen using drugs and working really hard for GCSE almost as if to prove drugs aren't harmful ? Maybe among his druggie friends he IS the smart one ? ( he has told me he is the least likely to develop a drug problem because he's the clever one...- to which I replied perhaps that means he has the lost to lose?)
Btw he's not exceptionally clever, he thinks he'll get A's in most subjects, he has no other hobbies or interest/ no sports. Does his homework then goes out on a weekend. Says things like ' I got an A in my French mock, can I go out later?
By drugs I mean regular weed, plus mdma / ketamine / speed / 2cb during summer holidays. He thinks it's all fine, he's in control, doesn't smoke on a school night.
No .. I have the experience of teen taking lots of drugs and dropping out of school.
IME nothing a parent says or does will stop a teen who wants to take drugs , so be thankful that at least he still wants to succeed academically and hope that the drugs don't fuck him up too badly
My brother took loads of drugs when he was younger. Straight A's at O level, then failed his A levels rather spectacularly and spent several years bumming around doing nothing. Of course he thinks it is fine and he is in control at the moment, but what does he really know about it?
where does he get money to buy them?
My brother got the money from dealing and he also stole it from my parents.
As the sister of a bright academically able boy who got into cannabis during his a-levels and is now lives as a shell of a 27year old schizophrenic then I saw be very very careful.
It doesn't really matter if he's studious and clever if he's a druggie does it?
You almost sound proud.
I'd be grounding him, checking he really is getting all these As and speaking to the school, frankly and honestly, about his drug problem.
If he's taking what you say he is, passing his GCSEs is the least of his problems - staying alive long enough to do his A levels is. I'm an A&E nurse and IME it's these cocky 'clever' kids who end up taking too much, trusting the wrong person or being too reckless. They end up in ICCU if they're lucky. I can remember spent a good portion of a shift standing holding open the airway of a young man who'd taken too much ketamine - the only thing between him and suffocation was my hands. It wears off quite quickly but it doesn't take much time without air for serious injury or death to occur.
Smoking cannabis regularly at this age is making him more susceptible to any predisposition he may have to mental illness. Again, I've seen too many young men totally fucked up by this, including members of my own family. You just can't tell who'll have no ill effects at all, and who'll end up with serious mental health problems.
He's just not as clever as he thinks he is if he reckons he can do all of this without risk.
Being clever does not stop you developing mental illness or an addiction. Or getting a criminal record for that matter.
He's not clever though is he?
I went to a private school in a London with a lot of pressure on achieving high academic results. Most of the girls I knew took cannabis and ecstasy, but still got good A levels and went on to university. I don't think any of them went on to develop a serious drug problem. Their drug use was restricted to the weekend, they worked hard during the week.
Did they take drugs because of the pressure headoverheels?
The biggest problem with drugs at that age is that the developing mind is much more vulnerable than the adult mind.
Between my siblings and myself, we have a lot of experience of a variety of drugs. But we were all adults when we began, which is something my eldest brother insisted on. Drugs can be dangerous; ketamine especially so (wrecks your bladder/kidneys). Also, for us it was about partying in our twenties, which makes them less "gateway" - whereas younger people sitting in parks/each other's houses are doing it for the sensation and so may seek a stronger sensation.
So, as someone Who is comfortable with the idea of drug taking and hasn't had to witness the bleak side of it which medical staff and addiction therapists do - I'm still not keen on what your son is doing and you are not unduly worried. Sorry not to be more positive.
Not at his age, but I took quite a lot of fun stuff at university and got good results. That said, I was using a lot of it as performance enhancers. You can learn so much more if you don't have to sleep much...
Got a perfectly good degree.
Got excellent GCSEs as well. The ballsups at A-level were all my own native incompetence.
Maureens, I really don't know. I would say a bit of experimenting at that age is fairly normal whatever your school is like? Maybe being based in London meant we were a little less sheltered than some teens? This was in the late 80s / early 90s btw.
Just to be clear, I rarely took drugs myself, just an occasional smoke of cannabis.
I tihnk your son is too young to be smoking regularly, let alone take those other drugs.
Where does he get the money?
He might think it is all under control, but it is a slippery slope.
Where is he getting the money to pay for his "experiment"??
I had a long druggie phase about 12-13yo & went off them forever from 14. Only turned into a high achiever after that. Top results, etc.
15yos do think they're invincible, sadly.
I would ask the school for advice.
Luckily we have no shortage of family stories of addicts to
scare entertain DC with.
I'm terrified about what my son is doing. ( not almost proud as one response says, though i understand misinterpretation can happen when we are typing ) I am fully aware of the dangers, done lots of internet research and have spoken to drugfam counsellors, have spoken to his tutor ( who had a pastoral talk with him) and my son haas been seeing a drug counsellor for a year.
Thing is , how to convince a 15 year old who really does think it's 'normal' ( most 15 years old do NOT do drugs) - among his friends it may seem normal to him, he has not had any bad experience to back up what his parents tell him.
The fact he started so young has devastated me, but other than being tight on curfews and not giving any money what can I do? After GSCE next summer is a huge concern for me because honestly I think the exams are the only thing he cares about more and the school work is keeping him sensible at the moment. ( I think he smokes cannabis a bit, the other stuff was in the at parties/raves summer hols just gone)
My frustration is when he says to me that he is a good student with 100% attendance as if that justifies his drug use. Obviously that is not logical to me, but in his mind doing well at school totally justifies his attitude to drugs Which seems unusual.
I guess typically trouble starts at a' level with kids like this. My fear is things have to get a lot worse before they get better and I see no way to prevent this.
He thinks I don't understand because I have never smoked weed, but I would imagine those parents on here who have might not want their teens doing it?
I was exactly the same as him at his age, very intelligent but a drug taker. I hid it very very well though, my mum would have killed me stone dead.
I think the situation has escalated this far and he's of that age, it's going to be difficult to get out of it. I cannot believe he is taking speed and ket, those aren't the usual drugs of choice for a 15 year old (if they have a preference). Those are hard, party time drugs and it's really worrying how he sees nothing wrong with it. I honestly feel for you this must be so difficult. He's bound to resist everything. I think this is the time were you need to come down hard. No fucking around. He's taking the piss trying to justify it to you.
It was normal in my social circle (30+ yrs ago).
to be honest, I had to change schools to get into a less druggie set.
Are there any celebs or other types who he looks at as role models? Scientists or sporting types, whatever? I just wonder if you could point at some famous people and say "Do you think drugs are part of their lifestyle and how the got where they are?"
I stopped smoking MJ because it made me so stupid I couldn't even hold a conversation. Too embarrassing!!
THEY got where they are, sorry, I always leave y off that word...
My parents tried everything to stop my brother taking drugs but nothing worked and he did eventually stop in his mid twenties. I think the deaths of 2 of his friends from drugs had a lot to do with him stopping.
Tragically, he's not going to be clever for very long, is he? Can you get him into another school? I would move him asap. It's his life on the line - how come he doesn't understand that? He needs to read the neuroscience. Without sounding harsh, he might just as well stop going to school anyway if he continues with the drugs. So sorry for you. Try and get him into a state boarding school or any residential rehab place.
I would send him to boarding school if that would help. However I think it would be naive to think there are no drugs in boarding schools!
He has expressed interest in changing schools in 2014 for sixth form ( totally possible ) 'just for a nice change ' and I'm wondering if he wants a new start, new friends. However we live in London and he has a wide social group from different schools so I can't say the if current school is the issue. He keeps his friends well away from me.
I need to get him away for the summer though.. ..if anyone has any ideas. Prepared to spend £££ on this.
I only discovered a lot of what has been going on by thorough regular searching of his room. It is easy to hide as strumpeton knows.
There are a LOT of kids doing this. It is not 'normal', and it's definitely not safe, but it is commonplace.
I know literally 80-100 young people who regularly smoke cannabis or skunk - all my friends' kids as well as my son and his less 'respectable' friends. I know dozens who use m-cat, and more who have tried it once or twice.
My DS1 was similarly taking anything he could get his hands on at 15. Cannabis, skunk, m-cat, mushrooms, speed, cocaine, ecstasy, random pills... Tbh I am grateful I didn't know about most of it at the time, because just knowing about the skunk he was smoking - and then the m-cat at 17 - was worrying enough. He didn't care about school or his GCSEs, so underachieved, and spent a year or two messing about, getting stoned, and getting into trouble - including getting arrested on suspicion of burglary, because the police know that many young people who regularly take drugs are stealing to fund it.
I smoked cannabis myself and have tried other things, and have friends that use or have used various 'party drugs' without ruining their lives - so I was (am) quite pragmatic about drug use, and well informed and able to talk openly with my son (I recognise he doesn't always talk openly to me) and ask friends for advice when I've needed it.
My own DS has passed safely through a period of heavy use, thank goodness. The only hospital trip he's needed was for alcohol. He still smokes cannabis, but not daily, and rarely uses skunk. He doesn't use m-cat any more. He'd probably take other things if they were offered to him at a party...
I now have a few key thoughts...
Openness is safer than secrecy. (On the 2 occasions he has frightened himself, he has told me, so I have been able to help him).
Young people know drugs are dangerous. They just think they are invulnerable. And they think that drugs like cannabis are safer/less often dangerous than alcohol, or other accepted risks like driving motorbikes.
There are two types of users: those who take drugs to wind down from busy lives, and those who take drugs to switch off from lives they hate. Most of the young people in the first group keep themselves safe and are f
... Keep themselves safe and are fine. Kids in the second group are a real worry.
Skunk is different from other forms of cannabis, and much more dangerous. I have posted elsewhere about this. If young people are going to smoke weed, they need to understand that skunk is different, potentially dangerous and often nasty. There is a YouTube video worth watching, which I'll link to later.
It is not possible to smoke skunk every day and still pass exams. It was possible when we were young, because the sort of weed we were smoking was less psycho-active and weaker.
M-cat is awful, awful stuff. If your child gets into this, it's worth doing just about anything to get them away from it and friends who take it.
You can't stop them from taking drugs. Your best bet is to make sure their lives have things in them they want to do, so they stop themselves.
In London you're laughing. Get him into the Priory - under-16s are on the NHS and they are reputedly first class. Hence sleb use. Seriously.
Milly are you saying this from experience ? Have you known kids go there ? He's not necessarily addicted - (yet).
Totally agree that boarding school won't keep him away from drugs. I used to know a couple of boys at Eton who took heroin.
OP it's good that he's able to talk to you about it. I think you're right about him wanting to distance himself from his current group of friends and make a fresh start.
The Priory is undoubtedly world class, and a GP friend of mine was telling an NHS friend that they now take under-16s on the NHS. This was in the context of a discussion of self-harm and how to tackle it as teaching staff. I'm sure your ds would be deemed to have a significant problem.
Sorry - re boarding schools - I didn't at all mean ordinary boarding schools, but the state ones set up to help kids with pastoral problems. There are tons of them round London, and the current govt is really getting into starting more up, in recognition of the no. of struggling teens. Obv they have specialist staff to deal with issues like addiction, self-harm etc.
It's the effect of the drugs on the growing teen brain which is so serious, esp one so young as 15.
See LadyCurd's post above for what I mean.
My friends at (a London private) school took a lot of drugs when we were teenagers. Most of them still do now. The "least qualified" member of the group has a first degree and a PGCE. Most have MAs and a few have/are doing PhDs. So all is not lost on the academic front.
Whoops. Hit post by mistake.
What would concern me OP is that, as you're beginning to realise, he has no interests outside school. My friends had things like music, volunteering, DoE etc etc to stop them going OTT in the holidays. I would put some real effort into getting your son some interests or hobbies to distract him.
sounds a bit like my stepbrother. Got most of it out of his system in uni. Now just occasionally smokes a bit of dope, but got excellent grades in everything and now doing brilliantly in a graduate scheme for a top london bank.
He always did know to not get carried away and always studied hard. A good skill that a lot of people dont have. Work hard, play hard.
It's not about academics though is it. I just want my kids to be healthy ( especially good mental health) , happy, law abiding citizens not people who lie to their parents and potentially thieves/ dealers.
I don't think drugs bring happiness in the end, and use carries so much risk.
. Blueemerald - what is your point ? are you saying you'd be fine with your kids doing class A drugs age 15 !!! Bombing mdma for a laugh because they are bored of cannabis ?
Blue emerald - to your second post. Good advice but he has pretty much bullied us into letting him give up everything extra curricular . Now we know why.
There are 2 aspects to his life. School work and hanging with mates. Period.
The Priory don't offer drug treatment for children/young people. Here are details of their services .
From what you describe, your DS will not meet the threshold for any CAMHS in-patient treatment. In fact, it doesn't sound like he'd meet thresholds for any NHS CAHMS support at all, other than perhaps counseling.
He's been having counselling for a year. He says that's why he won't touch cocaine. ...
The frustration for me is apart from day to day monitoring by me, keeping tans on money /curfews/ behaviour is there is nothing I can positively do. Until things get a lot worse. Which I fear they might.
He won't touch cocaine but will touch horrifically scatty drugs like the ones you've listed?! Possibly also money is an issue as it's 5 x more expensive than those and you can't just get a fiver bag of it.
I think you're doing everything you can at this stage, I know you must feel so helpless but know this, you're doing your best and you're a good mum.
Masses on offer there for teens.
Also, OP, the state boarding schools I mention specialise in engaging dc in extra curriculars. Obv they've got them as a captive audience.
I wouldn't stand by and let things get worse if it were me. It's true you often need to make a fuss as a parent to get state provision to move, but move they do, if you persist.
Yes. The powerlessness is frustrating and frightening, isn't it?
Although there is probably nothing you can do, you can continue to have influence. You can keep giving him 'moral messages', keep telling him what you don't like, and gather information to make yourself as knowledgable as possible, and make sure he's well informed too.
It's frightening (and stupid) because it's a gamble, but it isn't by any means hopeless: the chances are your DS will be fine...
My DS is now 18, doing well at college, applying to uni, volunteering and working part-time. He's learned.
he is way too young for all that. I missed his age.
Yes. Ended up with straight As through GCSE, A level and a first degree followed by postgrad. Surprisingly doesn't appear to have caused a problem!
More info, if interested:
It seems that some people are pre-disposed to mental illness and taking drugs can bring this on/exacerbate it.
I have seen this in the dd of a friend, high achieving at school until the drugs wrecked her life, now has a mental illness which means she is unlikely to live a full life.
Often teens are just too young to be able to do anything in moderation. Some adults can use drugs only recreationally and leave them at home most of the time, but for teens it's harder - it really is a slippery slope.
If anyone is concerned that their child or someone they know may be taking drugs, check out this quiz which highlights the first warning signs www.sobercollege.com/telltale-signs-of-drug-use/
This is tricky. I do think he's too young, but I also think it's possible to use drugs (not the hard stuff) and be successful. Flow4 your long post is brilliant. Skunk is much stronger than the stuff we were smoking 20 years ago.
I don't want to be seen as pro-drugs, and I will be very careful what I tell my children, but DH and I smoked cannabis daily (evenings, mostly) for about 7 years. During this time we both got 2:1s at university, started professional careers, got promoted, bought our first flat followed by our first house, got a cat and managed to keep it alive, and got married. We were normal successful people living in the suburbs. We stopped smoking altogether when TTC DC1, and have not started again.
It's so hard looking at it with the eyes of a parent, though.
Clever and drugs isn't special. There are thousands of students at top unis fucking up their grades with drugs. There is always a fall.
I can see why some students use Ritalin to help them focus with there study's but using ( weed, plus mdma / ketamine / speed / 2cb ) that's just dangerous.
Victorian... Ritalin makes no sense (to me anyway) at GCSE level. They are not that high pressured. If this was a finalist uni student, I'd probably agree (think the user was stupid), but at least see their point.
Polonius a lot of schools pile huge pressure on GCSE students. There are kids all over the country doing extra GCSES to get the school's Average Point Score up.
OP, spend the whole summer on one of the Scottish islands, somewhwre with no broadband/wifi. Take A level revision books. Don't give him advanced warning. Once there, search all his bags and clothes and destroy any drugs you find.
For the summer.....Sign him up to volunteer with an organisation like this.
It will keep him busy, physically active and make him realise how lucky he is.......
one of my brothers has been a heavy weed user through GCSEs A levels, BA and Msc - passed them all OK.
now he lives in his parents basement unable to take a bus or have driving lessons with no social life.
but his mum pretends that it is all ok and normal because he did well academically.....
my friends and I were heavily into recreational drug use from the ages of 15 - early twenties.
we've all gone to gain degrees and good jobs (not to say I don't know of people who have developed health problems due to excessive cannabis use), inc PHD's and managerial positions.
of course recreational drug use has lots of side effects, but it's more common than most people think and isn't always a "slippery slope".
My brother started at your sons age, he's 43 now, lives in a bedsit and has finally got a temp job sweeping the streets. My brother was a lovely bright boy, now he's reclusive, paranoid and sad.
Do whatever you can to stop him.
I wouldn't personally go down the moral guilt trip avenue. It doesn't work. He doesn't see a moral issue with it, lots of people don't, it'll just alienate you to him.
I would use a motivational interviewing approach which is adopted widely in drug and alcohol services and is easy to use. A simple pros and cons list of continuing to use and discontinuing use. Done together, with him coming up with the points. It will help you see where he is coming from and if he is missing out any of the (what will be to you) glaring potential negatives then you can talk about that.
ds1 was a bright hardworking (drug-taking) 14 year old.
He became a 15 year old dropout.
Short term, your son might manage, but the prognosis for a heavy user at his age is very poor.
I have used drugs since I was approx 11 years old and I'm educated to post-graduate level, married, hold down a professional career and look after three children.
I continue to poly-drug use now with the only real exceptions being alcohol and nicotine. My current drug of choice is d-methamphetamine ('crystal meth') but I have used all the aforementioned substances on many occasions.
My eldest 14 year old daughter knows of mine and my hubby's extensive drug use and has shown no signs of taking a similar path. I have neither discouraged or encouraged her only informed her of my experiences both positive and negative. She says she isn't ready to experiment and I respect her maturity with regards to this decision.
I suspect I know much more about the drug use of her peers than any other parent in her circle as result of our openness.
Nice people use drugs too but many problems result directly from prohibition rather than toxicity and seemingly do little to stop her friends from purchasing almost anything they want on the blackmarket.
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