Join Together Newsroom:
When parents find out their teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, the family’s immediate focus is generally on getting help for the teen. But parents are often in great need of help themselves. They may need advice on what to say to their teen, how to evaluate whether he or she needs professional treatment and where to find the appropriate substance abuse treatment program if one is needed. A new toll-free telephone helpline is providing that assistance.
The Parents Toll-Free Helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373), is staffed by clinical social workers with practical experience in substance abuse prevention and treatment. The helpline will offer bilingual support (English/Spanish) beginning in mid-August.
“When a child has substance abuse issues, the whole family needs support,” says Ken Winters, PhD, Director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and member of The Partnership at Drugfree.org Science Advisory Board. “Parents may need a counselor to walk them through exactly what they will say to their teenager when they suspect substance abuse. If they have not already done so, parents need to establish rules about alcohol and other drugs, and consequences for breaking those rules. They may also need help figuring out whether their adolescent should get a professional assessment. These are some of the things that a counselor on the helpline can assist them with.”