Dealing with a child's addiction to substances

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Dealing with a child's addiction to substances

If your child is using drugs, some of the dos and don'ts. You know, first thing I did was go into denial mode, so the first thing I tell you is don't deny it. You have a problem, you're going to need to get proactive for that problem. If your child had any other disease, let's say diabetes, you'd begin to start educating yourself on that disease, what you needed to do to keep your child from getting worse, looking at maybe the sugar that you're using in your baking or cooking or carbohydrates. You'd be doing all these things because you're getting proactive about it. When you're looking at drugs and substance abuse issues, you need to study. First thing I studied and learned that was the most helpful to me was how drugs affect the brain. Once I understood that, it took a lot of the guilt off of me thinking I was a bad parent that my child turned to drugs, so I could understand how picking up and using a drug actually changed the brain chemistry in my child's brain, and I needed to get proactive on how to turn that around, how to get them to a point of not being an addiction but getting them to a point of recovery. So learning those steps is crucial. When you're trying to save your child's life, don't go into denial, don't scream and holler. You know your child's feeling bad enough as it is even though you may look at their reactions and think not. I know my daughter told me, "You know, mom, I need drugs. I need heroin like I need the air to breathe." I didn't understand this. If I had educated myself, and even though I'm saying the ifs, but if I had educated myself, I would have known how to intervene quicker, how to get her help, how to look for the right answers, look for an appropriate treatment program and be able to get her in. That's what you're fighting for. It's a disease, and you're fighting the best you can to stop it and intervene and be able to save your child's life. Talking to your children's so important. Parents have more influence than they think they do.

See Sharon LeGore's video on Dealing with a child's addiction to substances...


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Sharon LeGore

Family Advocate

Sharon is the founder and president of Momstell, a parent advocacy organization she created after the death of her daughter to a drug overdose.  She created the Momstell website in order to expand the mission to join concerned parents and families to work together towards improving drug treatment, education, legislation, and policy. Mrs. LeGore has worked on many drug and alcohol policy, state budget and legislative issues for Pennsylvania, including legislation to create the first statewide Parent Advisory Council for substance abuse issues in Pennsylvania. She serves on several policy tables and co-chairs the PA Children’s Advisory Committee.

Mrs. LeGore is a consultant on substance abuse family involvement issues for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and is also the co-director of the SAMHSA sponsored “National Family Dialogue”. Sharon co-authored the CSAT/SAMHSA report “Families of Youth with Substance Use Disorders: A National Dialogue”, an issue brief entitled “Family Involvement in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment” a journal piece for Reclaiming Futures entitled “Family Involvement in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery: What do we know and what lies ahead”, co-authored the “Access to Substance Abuse Treatment: Results of a Family Survey” as well as several additional published articles. She is a national speaker and also serves on the Parent Advisory Board for the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Sharon is the mother of four and resides in Mt Wolf, Pennsylvania with her husband Terry.

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