Prescription drug abuse has been rising steadily in the last decade. Children and teens are especially susceptible, since they can access their parents' medicine cabinets and take pills from their parents. Worst still, more teens die from a prescription drug overdose than a street drug overdose of some of the harder illegal drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin, meth, etc.). If you discover that your child has been sneaking drugs from your pill bottles and medicine cabinet, here is what you need to know about childrens substance abuse counseling and treatment programs.
Signing Your Child into a Treatment Center
Children cannot sign themselves into a drug rehab program. That means that you, the parent, have to sign your child into the treatment center and agree to the program as outlined by the center's code of conduct and the leading psychiatrist's treatment plan. Your child may not sign him- or herself out either, unless he or she achieves his/her eighteenth birthday while in treatment. Even then, he/she may not be allowed to leave if the doctor does not sign the release forms.
Drying out and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Your child will spend a few days to a few weeks in a drying out period. This allows the body to detox completely. During this time, or shortly thereafter, your child will begin a cognitive behavioral therapy program so that he/she understands why and how he/she became hooked on prescription medications. This type of therapy will change the way your child thinks and feels about his/her choices and actions, how to manage stress and trigger situations in the future and how to approach temptations as they arise once he/she is released from the treatment center.
Getting the Family Involved
As the parent who inadvertently provided the medications to which your child became addicted, you and your spouse or significant other will probably need to attend some family therapy sessions. This will help you and your family to learn coping mechanisms and establish a plan for treatment going forward. The psychiatrist/therapist and the center will typically request that parents also lock up the medicine cabinet, including some over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup and bronchodilators which can be as easily abused as your prescription medication. If you cannot put a lock on the medicine cabinet, you may need to find another way to lock up the medications prior to your child's release from the treatment center.