Further Reading

How do I let parents know that all drug use does not require hospitalization?

Dear Stanton:

How do I keep parents who discover their children are using marijuana casually from immediately freaking out and putting them into a juvenile substance abuse program?

Yours truly,

Dear Bridget:

In today's trip-wire atmosphere, parents forget about their own past drug use -- and are often frightened into putting a child in treatment for any drug use at all. Of course, this parental urge is often inspired by so-called zero-tolerance school policies, which threaten children found to have used a drug with expulsion unless they seek treatment.

All of this is so counterproductive as to show how psychotic our drug policies are. For one thing, the best guarantee that children will outgrow adolescent misbehavior and substance use is their involvement in prosocial activities, including success at school. On the treatment side, and as far as NIDA research suggesting that "Drug abuse is a brain disease" go, the entire realm of adolescent experimentation is immediately rolled in with the most serious forms of drug abuse. The idea that we can discover the source of drug abuse and treat it away eliminates the realization that people try out many behaviors over their lives — this says little about the people they will ultimately become.

My work in this area, I like to think, stands out as one counteractive to this cultural hysteria. See especially my pamphlet with Marianne Apostolides, Don't Panic: A Parent's Guide.