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Summertime Teen Surveillance

by James Heller 14. June 2013 09:58
At long last, teens have been released from the school for the summer break.  While most of them look forward to the freedom that awaits, most parents need to find ways to keep them busy and in check.  While you can’t imprison them at home for 3 months, it is important that you remain aware of patterns that may indicate alcohol or drug use.
The last month of a high school year is filled with youth anticipation.  Plans are made between friends, gatherings scheduled, and phone numbers and email addresses are exchanged with acquaintances.  Some adolescents will plan to be very active during the summer months, and others will choose to take it easy.  Either way, parents will be concerned about their welfare at some point.

It’s almost impossible to keep tabs on your household teens all of the time.  They need their freedom, and you have to go to work or a have home to take care of.  There will be a good amount of time that teens are away from you for several hours or even a few days.  Assuming your family has been free from substance use problems, you will probably trust them to not get involved with alcohol or drugs, but you may still worry.
Temptation to get high is everywhere, these days, and teens are very impressionable.  A 14 year old who gets excellent grades and is very active in school activities can get hooked on drugs just the same as dropout.  This is not mentioned to instill fear, but you should be constructively aware of the signs of substance use.  If you ignore the early stages of youth alcohol and drug use, you will open the door to more frequent use and future problems.

Watch for the signs.  Teens that begin using alcohol and drugs will often go through an abrupt change of friends.  They will spend less and less time at home, and sleeping patterns will change.  Conflicts with parents increase.  The “flu” may visit your house more than once in a short period of time.  If you happen to find drugs or paraphernalia in their room, be assured that it does not belong to a friend.

If you still want to avoid a conflict with your teen and think substance use is just a passing phase, remember that most teen injuries and deaths involve substance use.  Talk to them and get them help if they have a problem.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Reasons For Teen Drug Tests

by James Heller 7. August 2009 09:28

by Gina Galperson
Office Manager, Intake Supervisor
Tarzana Treatment Center Youth Services


I will never understand it.  When adult professionals such as physicians and therapists say that drug testing your own children could violate trust in the relationship, I just cannot identify with any part of that argument.

The Trust Factor:

As a teenager, one of the worst things my mother could do to me was to accuse me of something I did not do. When I was innocent, I wish that there had been a test to prove my innocence. When I was guilty...well, not so much, unfortunately for me most of the time I was guilty.

We are talking about teens. Raising them is about giving them what I call the “Hope Rope”, then seeing what they do with it and HOPE they will make the right decisions. I cannot tell you how many "post-treatment" parents have told me about the regret that they feel that they avoided signs of possible adolescent drug abuse.

The best line is “It is just a phase” or “he/she will grow out of it” It is so much easier to deal with a problem early on, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist or hope that it just goes away. No one wants to deal with these types of situations, but these things usually only get worse when ignored.

Most adolescents at least occasionally lie to their parents.  I know I did and I have never found anyone that will argue that fact except a teen. We owe it to our youth to know them and teach them as well as we possibly can. Would you choose to never look at a report card, and just take their word for how they are doing in school?

When you suspect your teen of drug use, what do you do? Do you just ask them and take their word for it? I am amazed at all the parents that find drugs and believe "I am just holding it for a friend". You could catch them in the act then it was always "the first time."

I am a recovering addict.  But addict or not I have never met anyone who let someone else hold on to their drugs. 99% of the time when one is caught it is never the first time. I believe why you finally get caught is you start losing your inhibitions, start taking more risks, and eventually get sloppy.  Things haven’t changed that much…

I genuinely believe that if a teen, or anyone for that matter, really has nothing to hide, that they would almost jump at the chance to prove their innocence. A Drug test is the perfect solution. Point out to them that the most stoned kid in their school has oblivious parents at home. Most adolescents actually appreciate the "out" with their friends. “I can’t. My parents Drug Test me”.

I hope we are not teaching our kids that blind trust is going to work for them in life. It is human nature to go too far if someone does not hold us accountable. We must teach them about consequences for their poor choices and positive reinforcement for their good actions.

When a family friend first realized her teen daughter was using Marijuana, she did not act cool, calm and collected.  But instead she almost had a melt down; she really thought she was going to lose her mind. This included a 6 week period where her teen’s grades deteriorated, attitude changed for the worse, and she lost interest in most things.  

All of this was a direct result from her smoking Weed. There was a lot of discussion, crying, hugging, and even some yelling but in the end they came up with an agreement; UA TESTS.

She has consistently spot tested her daughter once a week for the last four months and the tests have remained clean.  This is in no way the end of her kid’s experimental phase.  If my friend believed that she would be in complete denial. All she can do is be there for her daughter, pray for the best, and tell her daily how much she loves her.  And if nothing else that teen knows the "eye in the sky" is watching.

Picking your Battles:

I was told a long time ago that parents need to “Pick their battles”.  In my opinion, if teens are getting straight A’s in school and are respectful of adults and peers, chances are they have a good head on their shoulders and are making good choices. In these cases, I would be more lenient with my teens on how they expressed themselves with clothes, hair styles and make-up, how late they stayed out, and computer use, to name a few, because these are not battles I want or need to pick.  

On the other hand if my teens are skipping school, have dropping grades, are disrespectful and, first and foremost, using drugs, then to me they lost their right to express themselves with these luxuries. These rights would have to be earned, and are definitely battles worth picking.

“There are no bad kids, just kids who make bad choices”

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides adolescent alcohol and drug treatment services including staff administered drug tests as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you would like more information, please call us at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Our walk-in tests are usually $50.00 and with the flyer they are $35.00.  These tests are recognized by the judicial system.   

If you or someone you know are interested in having a drug test administered please click on the link below for a discount flyer.

Print the flyer and bring it to our Tarzana or Antelope Valley locations listed below:

18700 Oxnard Street, Tarzana, CA  91356

44443 N. 10th Street West, Lancaster, CA  93534