The Sandstone Care Podcast

How To Talk To Your Teen Or Young Adult About Substance Abuse

June 29, 2021 Clint Mally with Sandstone Care
The Sandstone Care Podcast
How To Talk To Your Teen Or Young Adult About Substance Abuse
Show Notes Transcript

This episode explains how to talk to your teen or young adult about their substance use or substance abuse. 

Here are just some of the questions we'll cover:

  1. How common is substance abuse among teens and young adults?
  2. How qualifies as substance abuse?
  3. How quickly can a teen or young adult become addicted?
  4. Why do teens and young adults become addicted and what kinds of drugs do they usually become addicted to?
  5. Can a teen or young adult become addicted to marijuana?

If you'd like some support call (855) 958-5511 or live chat with us at

When I meet with people, and they again, they tried to convince me that they're not bad parents or that this isn't their fault. I think the biggest piece for me is just removing all sorts of blame from the conversation. And I like to compare this to any other disease. We don't blame cancer patients for getting cancer, it's not their fault. Same thing goes with addiction and mental health. We can't blame the parents or the child or the friends for for introducing or developing a substance use disorder or a mental health disorder. Welcome to the sandstone care podcast where we help teens, young adults and their families overcome the challenges that come with substance use addiction and mental health conditions. So welcome to the very first episode of the sandstone care podcast. Today, we are kicking it off. Right? We are joined with Sarah Fletcher, she is going to be walking us through some tough, tough questions that are hopefully going to make your life a lot easier when it comes to talking with your team or your young adult about substance use. So just a little bit of background, Sara Fletcher first and foremost is a wonderful human being. But she's also our chief clinical officer at sands don't care. And so she's in the know about all the stuff that goes into mental health and substance use with teens and young adults specifically. So if you have unanswered questions about that stuff, you're in the right place. Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Hi, thanks so much for having me. I'm so these questions that I'm going to be asking you today. And these are questions that have been pulled from the most frequent questions that parents have, right. So everything I'm asking you is stuff that anybody who's been in this situation, they know exactly what I'm talking about. And they probably have felt or thought or wondered these questions. And so I'm so happy that we have you to help dispel some of the myths that come along with these things. So again, thanks for being here. So Sara, how common are substance related disorders for teens and young adults? Like how often are you seeing populations of teens and young adults come to places like sans don't care or otherwise, for substance use? Yeah, totally. So when we look at substance use in teens and young adults, we're really looking at a population that especially in the last year, due to the pandemic that we've all experienced, those numbers are rising. And so in 2017, there was a study done that said, around one in 12, Americans will struggle with a substance use disorder. And the highest number of that really comes into teens and young adults, a lot of times because they're going through adolescence, they're learning who they are, they're gaining a sense of identity. And so with the pandemic coupling with that study from 2017, we're seeing millions of young people adolescence into early adulthood, seeking out support for substance use Sarah, what qualifies as substance use disorder or substance abuse. So a substance use disorder really, is categorized by a couple of different things. So identifying substance abuse, is really just the excess use of substances that comes to the point of interfering with your daily life. So daily living skills can be missing school, missing work, pulling back from activities that you enjoy, it can be disinterested spending time with family. And then when we look at an actual substance use disorder that comes into gaining a tolerance. So do you need more of that substance in order to gain the achieved effect? It can also include withdrawal symptoms, so symptoms that make you feel icky or sick when you don't use that substance. And then we also look at natural consequences. Are there any legal consequences from your use? Or have we lost family or friends due to our use? And so looking at those interpersonal relationships, and also looking at your ability to carry out things that you enjoy? And then we're also looking at the mental health side of things as well. And so are we seeing an increase in sadness, hopelessness, disinterest in activities? And do we notice that those interests return with the use of substances which kind of categorizes that as a dependence that So, yeah, that totally makes sense. And so like one of the questions I have about, I guess, going on what you said about substance use disorder is how quickly can someone build up a tolerance to where then they need more and more? Is it something that happens, you know, over just a couple of weeks or as a month? Or as a years? Like? What's that kind of spectrum look like? Absolutely. So when we look at building a tolerance and the substance use disorder realm, it's really a spectrum, right. And so there are some substances that individuals can use that they gain a tolerance very quickly to. And then there's also other substances that can take some time to really develop a dependence on. And so you're looking at a couple of different factors, you're looking at genetic predisposition. So is there a family string of others who have struggled with substance use, and then you're also looking at frequency, and the pressures and lack of natural coping skills that individuals have. And so if we develop a tolerance fairly quickly, it's often due to the frequency of use. And then it's also coupled with the inability to find other things that you enjoy that will bring you to consistent use. And so it is rather, it's a spectrum of different factors that contribute to frequency. But tolerance can really be developed as in a short amount of time, as short as two to three weeks, depending on the frequency of use. You know, this makes me think of when some My mom is alcoholic, my dad is, is an addict. And so growing up, I knew that I didn't want to kind of follow in my parents footsteps, I knew that I would probably become an addict really easily because of that, like you said, genetic predisposition. And so are you saying that if if somebody has been an addict before childbirth, before they've had their child, that that will actually impact someone's likelihood of being able to become addicted themselves? Sure, it's, it's definitely possible. So there are studies that have shown there is a genetic component to substance use disorders and addiction as a whole. Now, there are also individuals who come from addicted families, adult children of alcoholics, and they do not develop a substance use disorder. And so there is it's that nature versus nurture argument, right. So there's, there's obviously, you know, again, studies have proven that there is a genetic disposition to substance use disorders, with children who have experienced substance use in their home, there's a there's also folks who experience and struggle with substances who do not come from families with a history of addiction. And so again, it really goes back to the nature of the environment, the ability to develop healthy coping skills, and then also looking at mental health as a whole as well, because the two are very closely intertwined. It's very rare that we see a substance use disorder without some sort of mental health component included in that. Wow. So that's so interesting, you know, and I'm glad you made that distinction, when it comes to sometimes genetics will play a factor. But that doesn't have to be the case. You know, I think sometimes families, when it comes to substance use, they look at the choices that their kid is making, and they're saying, Why is my kid doing this? Right? Like, I haven't done? I haven't, I haven't done anything that's contributed to this, like, I haven't put this example in front of them. They don't have the disparate predisposition to this. And so one of the things I hear you saying is, yes, like genetics can play a role. But also it doesn't. It's not the only factor environment is a huge factor. And that's not always the home environment. So, you know, theoretically, you could have a home in which you're loving your kids, you were, you know, doing your very best for them, as we see a lot of the parents that Samsung can care are, but that doesn't prevent the ability for a child or young adult or an adolescent or teen to become addicted to a substance. Is that right? Absolutely. Yeah. And I get a lot of parents that come in and they try to convince me that they're not bad parents. And nobody at sandstone has any sort of judgment or preconceived notion that parents are doing anything but loving their kids and really doing the best that they can. And so I think that's one of the pieces of the stigma that comes along with substance use disorders and mental health. That sandstone really tries to alleviate and break if you will, because We recognize that there are so many different factors that contribute to substance use disorders. It's, there's no one recipe that can guarantee that your loved one isn't going to develop an addiction. And that's honestly, what makes addiction so scary is because there isn't some identified addict, everybody and anybody can be impacted and affected by substances. Okay, I want to keep going into this kind of this vein about what we think of as the typical addict, because one of the frequent questions that we see parents are asking is, what are the personality traits of a person with substance abuse disorder is there you know, some type of person that is more likely if they're, you know, extroverted, or if they're introverted, to become a user or to become addicted to a substance, not that studies or statistics have shown and so there isn't some, again, some recipe or some character traits that are going to automatically lead you to struggle with substance use, what I will say is that you can look for signs and symptoms and events throughout your kid's adolescence, that may increase the chances that a substance use disorder will develop. And so some of those traits I would look for is increase in isolation. And again, looking back on 2020, and the pandemic that we've all experienced, I think that isolation has been a huge factor in, in what we've seen with continued struggles with substances. And then I would look for, again, those disinterest in activities that were previously enjoyed. And so if you have someone that you love that you've noticed, it's pulling away from things that once gave them happiness, that's probably a red flag that you should kind of dig into a little bit. There's also interest in. So when we're looking for signs and symptoms of substance use disorders, we also want to look at that person as a whole. And if they've been through anything recently, that could cause stress or increased isolation. And so if there's somebody who's having trouble at school, or they're missing work, they recently just went through a big life change. Those are all things that really require coping skills, natural coping skills. And really, if folks have not learned how to naturally cope with big life events, it's really easy to turn to substances to be able to find a way to relax and to self sooth. Alright, this is fascinating, because the thing that I think that a lot of parents, and you know, adults think, is that, okay, my kid is super outgoing, or they're going to be more likely to make the wrong friends, right? Or my kid is an introvert, they're more likely to want to spend time in their room, so they're more likely to use substances. And what I hear you saying is that it's not so much about one versus the other. It's about being able to identify events or changes in that person's personality, right, like, so if they used to be an outgoing kid, an outgoing teen or young adult, and suddenly, now they're isolating themselves in the room, that's something we need to look for. Right? Or if we're if they were more introverted, but now you see them doing things that are uncharacteristic of the way that they would normally do that, right, like, in the way that they're talking, who they're hanging out with how they're dressing, that might be something to look at as a factor, right, or an event that has happened to them. Are they going through something? Is that? Is that pretty accurate? salutely? Yeah, we're looking for large changes that are out of the ordinary. Sarah, how do you talk to your child about substance use? Yeah, I think that when it comes to talking to your kids, you always have to come from a place of curiosity and non judgment. And that can be really, really difficult, especially when you're scared, you're nervous, you've noticed some big mood swing changes, or some pulling back from activities that your kid used to enjoy. And with all of that, it's super important to ask questions, be prepared for the answers. And then again, always come from a place of curiosity. I like to really steer clear of why questions because depending on how we ask them, using the word y can automatically insinuate judgment. And so for me, I like to use questions like help me understand what's happening, or can you do you feel comfortable sharing this with me, and then again, staying very calm. And very focused and really practicing that reflective listening. So your child feel safe in their environment, because again, substance use automatically the stigma that comes with it insinuates shame and guilt. And so we really want to remove that stigma. Because if your child is brave enough to share about what they're going through, we want to praise them for that. And we want to be really unconditionally supportive, because that's the only way that you're going to be able to get your child the support that they need. And that's also what they're going to experience when they come to a therapeutic environment. And so the more that you can practice, just reflective listening, coming from a place of curiosity, and really practicing that piece of understanding what's being shared with you is going to be your best bet in order to really get somewhere. Okay, so that makes me think about a nuance that I feel like we don't talk about a lot, because I think about parents will be intentional about the words that they use. So maybe they read a book, or they listen to a podcast or watch the video and they said, okay, you know, like, be curious and don't judge, right? So they try to ask a question to their child. But their tonality is expressing all the judgment that they're not saying in their words, right? So for example, you come to them and you say, help me understand why you would do, right, like how it is that you did that. Right. And and can you in your experience, have you noticed, like working with parents and teens and young adults? How tonality kind of plays a factor in that? Oh, absolutely. I think tone makes a huge difference. And nonverbals make a huge difference. Okay, tell me about that. Yeah, especially when we're in family sessions, or we're learning how to communicate with each other nonverbals can cause a family session to completely turn upside down. The same thing happens when you're curious. And you're asking questions about substance use, or maybe what's happening or the mood changes that you've experienced with your child tone and your nonverbals are likely going to communicate more than what you're actually verbalizing. And so for me, my recommendations are always, never ever address your child when you're frustrated, or when you're angry, specific to this situation. Because I know that in life, there's naturally going to be disagreements. And to be honest, I think in every healthy family, dynamic disagreements are necessary. Because we need to be able to express our opinions, we're all different people, however, when we come to learning about substance use are really trying to find an authentic response from our child. It's not going to happen if we are coming to the table with our own frustrations, stress, fear. And those are all really natural responses to substance use disorders, I'm very afraid. I don't know if my kids going to be okay. I don't know what they're going through. And so for me, my recommendation is always to take the time that you need before you address your child about this. And make sure again, that you're just ready to hear those responses. Because if you're asking really tough questions, you have to be prepared to get really tough answers. And that's again, where reaching out for support, I always recommend that parents practice their own self care received their own individual therapeutic support, because this is really a family systems process. It's not just the child who's struggling. It's an entire family dynamic that's usually struggling in this case. Okay, I love this is so fascinating to me. And, you know, for those of you who don't know, I am not a medical professional at all. I am the opposite. But I was an educator and worked with teens and young adults for a long time. And so one of the things you talked about is verbal cues. Right? And so are there any telltale signs, verbal cues that parents give off that? You said that you saw you were in a situation you saw how nonverbal communication was the way it kind of made that thing turn upside down? Are there any, like telltale signs that are nonverbal cues, where you'll see that it will completely change the dynamic? Absolutely. The main verbal cues or non verbal cues, I should say that I see that really causes a lot of shutdown and disengagement with kids is size. So big, long, drawn out size, usually stemming from feeling overwhelmed and eye rolls. Lack of eye contact these things really just naturally, they they insinuate chain, right, they insinuate that something's wrong with me, and so or that you can't handle what I'm sharing with you. The other piece of this is that what I just listed, those are very natural responses and so it can feel a little out of your element to say Oh my gosh, I need to make sure that I don't decide during the situation. But it's a way for me to kind of express what I'm going through. And so a lot of times it takes practice. And that's not to say that if you say are given I roll that the entire situation is blown. I think my recommendation would be that if we start to experience these nonverbal cues, we named them say, you know, what, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by what you just shared with me. And I'm really glad that you felt safe enough to share it with me. And so that's where you can kind of counteract some of those natural nonverbal responses by by sharing verbally what is happening for you, because I think that's really practicing, being open and honest, and human, really creates a safe place for your child, your loved one, your friends to really also practice that open communication. Yeah, so what I hear you saying is being aware is super important. And also self regulation, right is super important that if we can focus on how we, how we feel, we can control how we feel, because really, at the end of the day, that's the only thing you can control, right? Like, you're really not gonna be able to control your child as much as you might want to, sometimes you're not going to be able to control them, but you can't control yourself. And so those are things that we need to focus on, before we step into the room with our kids. Is that right? Yep, I would say that, you need to practice your own self regulation, before, you're going to enter into a really triggering conversation. Because if you're not regulated, and you're not able to at least name when you feel overwhelmed, there's no way that your child or your loved one is going to be able to mirror that for you. And so a lot of times modeling the behavior that we want to see, again, creates that safe place for the person that we're talking to, to mirror us and be able to bring that behavior back. So I'm a married guy, I've been married for a little over 10 years now. And one of the things that we figured out pretty early on in our marriage, is that when we send it to different words, that would completely change the trajectory of the conversation. And those were always and never, right. So if we were ever talking to each other, and we said you always do this, or you never do that, when we use those really big superlatives to talk to the other person, we, you know, the other person was almost guaranteed to shut down. Right? Are there any other type of you know, verbal cues are ways that you phrase things that might get in the way of your child being able to hear what you're saying? Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned that because what you actually just described is something called a cognitive distortion. And so that's what we identify in the therapy world as an overgeneralization. And so when we talk about cognitive distortions, we there's a list of all sorts of different ways that we can kind of distort the way that we're thinking about something and give it an overgeneralization. Right. So again, to your point, you always come home late, well, probably not. But it can feel that way. When you're in the moment, and you're feeling really overwhelmed. And you're having feelings of frustration, of course, it can feel like this always happens. And so my recommendation to families is to again, try to steer away from those hard all or nothing thinking, right, so this never is going to be the same. It's it's possible that things will go back to the way that they were. And the other piece that I really tried to focus on is really having dialogue and not as much, again, over generalizing the words that we use from like always, to never, but instead, I like to focus on feeling hopeful instead of hopeless. And so that is another cognitive distortion is that we're in a really low space, it's really easy to just assume that we're never going to get out of that space. And a lot of times when families come and seek treatment, they are in a really low place, and they feel really hopeless. And so instead of really looking at kind of like that all or nothing thinking, I really tried to practice a mindset switch of, I'm feeling really hopeless. I feel like I've tried A, B and C and it hasn't worked. And I recognize that there's other things that we can do. I don't know if that makes sense. That makes all the sense. Yeah, totally. Totally. I love it. Okay, so Another common question that we see parents have is, you know, what are some of the risk factors for addiction like what causes a teen or a young adult to become addicted in the first place? Yeah, absolutely. So I think when we look at substance use in general, and what kind of brings on a substance use disorder, in my mind to be looking at where does that scale kind of tip or where do we cross that line. Most of the time, when adolescents first start using substances, it's really coming from an experimentation stage. And so for me, and not to get on a little bit of a soapbox, but I but this is where education is huge. I can't tell you how many clients that I've worked with who come to me and we talked about how they first started using substances. And what they were told early on is that if they use a certain substance, they're going to immediately become addicted to it, their life is going to turn upside down, and everything's going to be terrible. Well, what happens is, then when they experiment, they're with friends, or they're there with their older siblings, or whatever the situation is, they experiment with a substance and they don't experience any negative consequences. What happens then is that any sort of education they've received is now not credible. Because they they learned that by doing this, I use marijuana one time, nothing bad happened to me. In fact, I experienced some positive euphoria from that substance. And so when we look at experimentation versus moving into a true substance abuse or substance use disorder, I'd really like to press on early onset education, and truth behind substance use. Most of the time, if adolescents try a substance, they aren't going to become heavily addicted, they're not going to gain a super high tolerance. That's not to say that substances are dangerous, and that it can't have negative consequences. But I think we really need to be honest about what those consequences are and what the risk factors are. Because what we're doing is we're undermining our own credibility, then when an adolescent uses a substance and nothing bad happens to them, they become invincible, right? They're like, well, I can do this, and I can get away with it. And so what we're really looking for in crossing that line is when does experimentation become frequent use, and also looking for factors, again, looking for those pre disposition of genetics, looking for pre on, you know, early onset mental health? And so does this person struggle with depression? Do they struggle with anxiety, because the reason that I bring that up is, those who struggle with anxiety and depression, using substances can become easily good coping skill. It's not a healthy coping skill, right. And it can also lead to really serious addiction. And when we're not taught early coping skills of how to manage, feeling hopeless, or or feeling really anxious, we start to use those substances. And they they help. And so it really what we're looking for, and how someone becomes addicted, is we're looking for a form of self soothing and self medication. And then when does that experimentation become a problem? So the other thing is, a lot of times adolescents feel again, invincible, invincible, and they also think that they can get away with everything. We think we're really smart when we're teenagers. And to be honest, we are we're incredibly clever. And so when we get caught when adolescents get caught using substances are partying with their friends, I think the biggest mistake that oftentimes happens is we go straight to punishment and consequences, and we skip that education piece. So again, that's where that communication comes in of, yes, this is an unacceptable behavior. And we don't want this to continue to happen. And let's talk realistically about what substance you're using. And, frankly, what's the reasoning behind the use. And that really leads us to a rich education dialog where we can talk about natural consequences and risk factors, hey, this is actually what could happen to you down the line. And so I think the education system has done a really wonderful job in kind of doing a pivot from the early education to education that Clint, you and I likely had growing up was if you use any sort of drugs, you're probably going to die. And it's like, well, probably not. And using illegal substances or mood altering substances in excess can have really dangerous consequences. And so again, looking at education, and really talking about what's realistic and looking at when we pass an experimentation mode and move into frequent use. Yeah, and so the thing that sticks out when you say that is education is a two way street, on the On one hand, you are trying to make sure before you give any punishments that you are giving education, right, that you're letting people know the reality of the situation, you're letting your kid know the reality of the situation. But then the other part about that education is you learning, right? You as the parent are learning why the child is doing this? What is the thing that they're trying to cope with? Right? Like, what is it? What is the experiences or the events that are happening in their life that are causing them to react, right? Because it really, if you think about it, you're not going to be able to help that child to not use that substance, if you don't first know why they're using the substance in the first place. Because they're right, present. Yeah, we really want to come from a place again, to understand what's really happening with your kid. And that can be really, really tough, especially going through adolescence and trying to figure out your own sense of identity and who you are. It's really, really important that again, I'm not saying that consequences aren't necessary. And to your point, it is a two way street, we need to understand what's backing that those decisions, and make sure that we're supportive, and in making and finding out a way to be able to kind of curve those decisions. So we come to a place where we both understand each other. The other thing I think is important is when we do give consequences, especially when it's surrounding substance use. We want to make sure that we're educating the why behind it, hey, this is the consequence for the behavior that you experience that you presented. And I want you to understand why I feel nervous and why I'm scared about this behavior. And so again, it doesn't come from a place of you're wrong, you didn't do this, right. It really comes from a place of I want to keep you safe, because I love you and I care about you. And I also want to understand what's happening for you, because I recognize that I don't know. So powerful. It's such a powerful thing. And it's almost disarming to come to the table of wanting to actually learn. And like you. I think you mentioned being curious, right? Coming, coming to the table, being curious, from the get go to actually want to know the answers. I think oftentimes, when we go into a conversation, it's not about trying to learn, it's about trying to inform, which usually doesn't end up well. Is it right? Like, have you seen that like, where a parent is so sure, of what needs to be done, and they seek out professional help, not necessarily because they're, they don't think they know what to do, but because they just want somebody else to validate what they know, they need to be doing. And he's seen that before, I think that's, that's really common in what we see when we work with families and adolescence is that we have parents, again, coming from a place of fear, right? They don't, they see that this behavior is not good. And they see that their child's behavior and their mood swings and who they are as a person is starting to adjust. And they want to be in control of that. And I totally understand that. Because again, at the end of the day, you want to keep your child safe, because you love them and you care about them. And I think that that's where those assumptions come in. And oftentimes when, when professional help is, is happening during family sessions. We the first session is really just identifying what goals we have opening the session, setting some ground rules around our nonverbal cues or how we communicate with each other. And then really just talking about what we want from the session, most of the time parents come in, and they have a number one goal of I want my kid to stop using marijuana. Well, that's only one piece of the puzzle. And we can absolutely set that as a goal, but then reverting back to let's find out why your kid feels like marijuana is a good coping skill for them. And again, letting families express their resentments and really make sure that they're receiving their own support is incredibly important in the process. And that's what I really love about this show. This podcast, the videos and the stuff and the content that we're creating is it's so much of it is about education, right? It's about it's about you, us knowing the right thing to do as parents or as adults to support teens and young adults. And oftentimes when we know better, we do better. Right? And so in general, there's a huge need for education and sometimes that means That as adults, you we have to go back and relearn ourselves. Right? Like, we actually have to take a step back, look at ourselves. And I think when you talked about coming from a place of fear that, yeah, that's scary, because you're afraid that if you look deep enough into the situation, you're going to find that some of the issue might be a result of things that you have done in the environment. And that is a hard, hard thing. Because, of course, you want your kids to be healthy and happy, and live beautiful, you know, great lives. But on the other hand, if there's any sadness going in there, going into their life, you wonder, am I is there some part about this? That's with me? And so there's that, like, one neglecting your own responsibility? But then I would imagine, Sarah, that there's also people who blame themselves the kind of like we talked about earlier for everything. Right. So is there like an other side to that coin? Yeah, when, when we, when I meet with people, and they again, they tried to convince me that they're not that parents are that this isn't their fault. I think the biggest piece for me is just removing all sorts of blame from the conversation. And I like to compare this to any other disease, we don't blame cancer patients for getting cancer, it's not their fault. Same thing goes with addiction and mental health, we can't blame the parents or the child or the friends for for introducing or developing a substance use disorder or a mental health disorder. Yes, there are natural environmental factors that play into the development of addiction. That also doesn't mean that if you adjust course, and you pick up and move to a different state, it doesn't remove the predisposition of what your child is struggling with. And it doesn't mean that if you moved to this state versus a state or you, you know, cut off these friends or kept a curfew earlier, that also comes back to just that locus of control. And the fact that human beings are imperfect, and we make decisions that are not super wonderful all the time. That doesn't mean that we need to blame each other for the decisions that we make, or the situations that we find ourselves in. And so really focusing on getting rid of that blame and just staying in the present moment. This is where we are right now. And so let's come up with a game plan to move forward and get to a place where we feel hopeful. So what are the forms of drug abuse? What are the drugs that you would typically see teens or young adults abusing the most? Yeah, when we see clients come to seek treatment with us, especially the teen and young adult population, we see marijuana in the teens just because, again, in Colorado, it is legal. And so there is a very high level of accessibility. We see alcohol use, again, because that is also a legal substance, depending on your age. So the amount of accessibility is very high. Then we see a plethora of different substances, we see cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, but for the most part, your highly highly abused substances in the teen and young adult population are going to be marijuana, alcohol, and actually some over the counter substances as well. So things like cough syrup, Benadryl, anything that has mood altering capacities, and is pretty easily accessible is something that you definitely are going to see a large quantity of. So let's hone in on one of those pieces. marijuana. So Colorado, other places now all around the United States. marijuana is legal, right? Whatever you call it, weed, whatever. It's legal in these places. So it's just like alcohol, like you said, more accessible. Is marijuana addictive? It's a really good question. So new studies are coming out that due to the potency of cannabinoids that are being sold in stores now, there are physical and mental withdrawal components to marijuana as we as we can buy it and sell it today. With that being said, whenever there is a withdrawal potential, there is going to be some sort of addictive component to it right? Because whenever we experience withdrawal symptoms, continuing to use that substance is going to make those withdrawal symptoms go away. That's what leads to continued use and increased tolerance. And so they're absolutely is a withdrawal potential and an addictive component to marijuana. Now, I will say that this has changed over the last 10 years. 10 years ago, there weren't studies that showed marijuana having high levels of addictive components within that substance. But it but now that we're seeing those high level THC potencies, we are seeing adolescents and young adults really struggling with high physical and emotional cravings. And we're seeing those, those early onset withdrawal symptoms of irritability, loss of appetite sweats, increased depressive feelings, increasing xiety. And so with all of those symptoms that are presenting, it brings us back to being able to use that substance is going to curve those symptoms, which leads us into an addictive place. All right, I just want to I want to dive a little bit deeper into this marijuana situation, we'll call it right. We know that as the marijuana industry has become, I don't know if we'd say more regulated or at least as it's become more commoditized. commodity to commodity. peep. People can go people can go to the store to buy it right. That they're also creating different blends, and they're growing marijuana to be more potent. And so are you saying that part of the reason why marijuana is addictive and can have withdrawal symptoms is because it's more potent than it used to be? Yep, that's correct. So about 567 years ago, we were seeing THC potency hovering around 30 33%. Now we're seeing THC potency, around 99%. And so over the last five to 10 years, we've seen marijuana concentrates increase at rapid speeds, we're also seeing different kinds of ways to administer marijuana, including shatter including wax edibles are becoming so available to adolescents and young adults, that the way that it's being distributed and grown, is increasing that potency to super high levels, which is what brings on those addictive components and those withdrawal symptoms. So I'm just going to talk about I want to ask a question about CBD, right? So CBD is everywhere, people are talking about CBD, and they're putting it in drinks, and they're in lotions, and all these things. And I've heard parents who were talking about, you know, using CBD as a way to help kids who have anxiety or kids who are feeling anxious, right? So, you know, in your experience is CBD like a safe alternative to something like a marijuana that if a child is using marijuana to try and cope with anxiety or stress that they could turn to that and be okay. Yeah, my recommendation when it comes to CBD is first of all, the studies are very new. So there are studies that are coming out saying that CBD is a safer alternative that it does have therapeutic components, and that it can be a therapeutic intervention. However, my recommendation is I would never encourage parents to substitute any sort of substances without the support and supervision of a medical professional. So no different than I wouldn't administer antibiotics that I found are purchased from someone and give them to my loved one or my child's because I felt like it was a safer alternative. I would always consult with a medical professional before making any sort of decisions around administering mood altering substances to someone that I care about. And so early research does show that there is a potential therapeutic intervention for the use of true CBD. The research is still new. And so my hope is that as we continue to practice research and come out with really good peer reviewed research, I said research too many times sorry. My my hope is that when as we continue to see these studies come out and we continue to look into the research that the that's being done, we can find a more concrete answer of whether or not CBD could be a therapeutic intervention down the line. I will say that currently with the research being as new as it is, I would recommend Waiting until there's there's more concrete evidence backing a substance like CBD. So say I am a parent, and I'm going, I'm in my child's room. And I find drugs of some sort of substances of some sort. What do I do if I find substances or drugs in my child's room? Yeah, I would say if you find substances in your child's room, the first thing to do is take a deep breath, and stay calm. The next thing I would say is to work as hard as you can to not make any assumptions. So a lot of times, parents, again, from a place of caring and love, they'll start to kind of rummage around in their kids rooms, they'll look through their stuff, and they find things that they don't necessarily want to find. My recommendation is to have a direct conversation with your child about it. And be honest and authentic, say, Hey, I was going through your stuff, and hold accountability of your own. And because I think that it's safe to say that going through our kids rooms, there's never going to be a super exciting or happy feeling for them. And that's okay, they don't have to love the actions that you take in attempts to keep them safe. I think what they do what you owe it to them to do is to be honest and authentic about that, hey, this is the reason that I decided to do this, this is why I took this action. And this is what I found. And to be very honest, I feel very scared. And I feel very frustrated and overwhelmed by this. And I would say having the direct communication and dialogue, giving your child a chance to be able to open up rather than coming down hard and skirting all sorts of opportunity to really engage in a rich and healthy discussion about it. I love that. And does this go for paraphernalia too, right, like so if I'm in my child's room, and I see that they've got socks with marijuana leaves on them, right, or something like that? Does it go for things like that, too? Yeah, I would say so. I would recommend anything that you find that you either weren't expecting to find, or don't want to find the staying calm and really expressing your feelings about it. And the reason behind your feelings, hey, I found these marijuana socks, and they made me feel really nervous. And I want to understand where you're coming from, and what the reasoning was for wearing these getting these, what have you, but always given the opportunity to talk because I think that's where we miss really amazing conversations is when we don't give the opportunity to be able to communicate with each other. And that's where you're going to have all of those flooding, feelings of judgment and shame and assumptions. And it's not going to be a really healthy dialogue. And you're not going to learn anything from your child. When we work with adolescents. They are young people, but they are going into adulthood. I mean, especially with the young adult population 16 1718, all the way into early 20s. They're very established individuals, they have their own identity, they're not children anymore. And so that's my recommendation to parents is that we owe it to them to be able to let them express themselves, instead of coming down hard with consequences and punishments. Because what you're doing there in an attempt to keep them safe as you're pushing them away, and you're not inviting the opportunity for them to to express themselves. Is there is there ever a time where based upon your child or probably in this situation? You're your young adult? Probably not a team, but who's living in your house? Right? The you should call the police on your child? Yeah, I think that this is one of the most difficult situations that I've heard feedback from parents about. And I think the first thing that I would say is calling the police on your child or your young adult does not mean you're giving up on your kid you never give up on your kids. You love them. You hold them accountable. You have really tough conversations with them. And as difficult as this may be to hear sometimes we need to hold them accountable in order to keep them safe. And so my recommendation is you absolutely should call the police or seek professional help. When you're nervous about your child's safety, and so, if you feel like your child is at a safety risk, I would much rather have that young person arrested then overdose on us. Since and no longer be here with us, and so again, sometimes calling the police on your child or your young adult, it means that they're going to go to jail, it means they're going to get arrested. And that can be a super difficult pill to swallow. And sometimes I think that it's necessary in order to keep that person safe. The flip side of that is that you, as a family member, are also entitled to feel safe in your home, and you're entitled to feel like you matter. And so I always recommend involving law enforcement when that person or that family member feels like their physical safety is at risk, especially if someone is under the influence, it's always a good idea to make sure that you stay physically safe, and that your loved one stays physically safe. So I absolutely recommend involving the police when it comes down to a safety issue. Wow, that was something you know, I knew nothing about that situation. But I could see how it could come up more often than you think. Right? Especially if it's not something you're familiar with, especially if you really want to make sure that your child is going to be okay. Right. So, you know, this is not like a petty dispute, right? where you want to be proven right? or something, I don't think any parent would ever feel that way. This is something where you are genuinely concerned, if your child is going to be okay, like if they're going to get in something that could really damage them. And so, in that way, it seems like it's more of a form of love than anything else, right? You're trying to do something that that's ultimately going to help them in the long run, even if it's not something that they can see in that moment is all right. Thank you so much, Sarah, for being on our very first episode. You know, I just want to ask, one final question for this episode, for this podcast is, you know, what would you tell parents right now who are hearing these things, and they're starting to realize that their child definitely has a problem, right? That it's based upon this stuff that you've said, it's not a matter of, if it's that they do? And now they need to know what to do next? Like, what would you tell the parent listening right now? Yeah, I would recommend anybody who feels nervous or who is unsure, or is kind of coming to a recognizing point of Wow, I think that my child my loved one may be struggling, is communicate, ask questions, and remain calm. And also reach out for help. You're not in this by yourself. And you shouldn't have to be in this by yourself. And so there are so many people who are waiting to support you and answer questions. I know that, I'm always happy to answer questions. And if that means that we have a really positive outcome, that's wonderful. But I would always want to be available to anybody who who wants to seek support. It's an incredibly scary process, and oftentimes a very unknown process on how to reach out and get support for someone who's struggling. And so, again, my recommendation would be to stay calm, and ask questions, be curious, and feel brave enough to reach out and ask for help. Yeah, you know, what you said reminds me of a story, I was coming home with my wife. We were driving home when we had like a dinner party that we had to get to. And so we were trying to get there on time. And so we were hustling to get there. And we realized that we locked ourselves out of the house. Right? And so, you know, this is not the situation you want to be in when you have to be somewhere on time. So I hopped the fence, and I go to the back door, and there are these small little panels, and I've seen enough movies to think that you know, okay, I could take my elbow and I could break one small panel of glass. And I can do that. And then I can let myself in to fix it later, right. So I tried to do that very thing. And I realized that it was not one small pane of glass that they were all connected. And when I went to break one, it all broke, right? And so now I had this new problem where we had glass all over our kitchen floor. And so we're trying to clean up this glass and we're realizing that this glass is everywhere. It's in places like it should not be it was you know, in the next room, how did this glass go from one place to the other, you know, and it took so much time to get all of that glass picked up that we ended up missing the dinner party right And then there was still the problem of now we don't have a window in our back door. And that's broken, right. And so rather than learn my lesson from the first situation of trying to, like, get a locksmith to open up the door or something like that, I went to the stores that sell window, I don't like a Home Depot and I, and I got a window. And they're like, Hey, you know, we'll install this for you. It costs X amount. And I was like, No, I got this, let me do it myself. I'm a professional, right, like, I can do this. And so you know, I get home with this window. And I, of course, never installed a door window in my life. And I muscled my way through it, and it ended up being uneven and looking terrible and not being very secure. And then I needed to call somebody anyways. And the person's like, Well, first, I'm gonna have to unstuck get this window thing unstuck, and then I'm gonna have to reinstall it the right way. So it's going to be more. So my point in all of this, this huge story is that if from the get go, when I realized I had a problem, if I would have sought out an expert, who's been through this situation, and has the tools to be able to solve it from the get go, I would have saved time, I would have saved money, I would have been much less stressed. And I would have been able to navigate it way easier. And so when it comes to something like this, sometimes it's the exact same, right? Like, you don't have to go with this alone, you don't have to be alone, you are not alone. And this is not an uncommon thing, right? for teens or young adults, the people that you love to find themselves challenged with mental health issues or substance issues, right. And so seek out people, you know, if not with sands don't care with anybody who's going to help you to navigate these tools. And who has experienced solving these problems. And actually, you know, helping to change these patterns of behavior, because your child deserves that you deserve it. And ultimately, it's going to save you a lot of time and effort. Like it could have saved me a lot of time and effort. So thank you guys so much. Thank you, Sarah, for being on this very first episode. We are definitely going to have you back. We're going to have you back for episode number two, where we are going to be talking about how do you talk to your spouse about your child's substance use disorder. We talked about how to talk to your child but how do you even talk to your spouse? What if they disagree with you? What are you gonna do? Stay tuned for episode number two. Thank you so much, Sara, anything you want to say before we leave? No, thank you so much for having me and I can't wait to do this again. All right. We will see you on the next one. Have a great rest of your day. Remember, be well and you are not in this alone by if you want to learn more about treatment options for you, your teen or young adult men. Tell us about your situation on a confidential call using the number in the show notes or live chat with us at sandstone care calm. We'll connect you with the treatment that you need. And if we're not the right fit, we'll get you where you need to go. Be well and remember that change is possible.