Mom, Did You Do Drugs?

The Dreaded Question

Has your child asked whether you’ve done drugs yourself?

Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and founder of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at New York’s Columbia University, believes something must have happened to trigger this question and that the child is sorting out what to do himself. Without judgment, quietly divert the focus back to the child by inquiring, “What makes you ask?” Then tailor your response to the situation.

But don’t lie about past drug use. Discuss mistakes made and why you hope your child won’t repeat them, but don’t feel obligated to disclose all the gory details. If you haven’t used, emphasize that research has shown us that illegal drugs are bad for us, even if we haven’t used them ourselves.

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