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Drugs. Simultaneously insidious and (especially for young minds) tantalizing, they weasel their way into homes via peer pressure, rebellion, depression and so many other factors.

There can be a number of reasons why teenagers might use drugs, and none of them means that they are bad kids or that their parents have failed.

No matter the reason, when you discover your teen is using drugs, some sort of intervention should be the next step. Early intervention can help prevent occasional drug use from becoming a habit or progressing to something even more severe.

It helps to understand the issues at play. Here are a few reasons that teenagers might use drugs:

Brain development: Research has shown that the teenage brain is very much still in development. This can lead to dangerous, risk-taking behaviors, especially under the pressure of friends.

Peer pressure: This can come in many forms. Perhaps it’s a group of teens who are experimenting together. Perhaps it’s a single teen who smokes marijuana to be part of the “in” crowd. (Yes, weed is legal to for adults to consume in Washington State, but it’s not legal for minors.)

Self-medication: The teen years can be difficult to navigate. Not only are youth discovering who they are, they’re also wrestling with larger-than-life emotions such as love, belonging and self-worth. Drugs, especially when access is easy, often are seen as a way to dull the sharp edges of those emotions.

Rebellion: Because some teens know their parents wouldn’t approve of their using drugs so they experiment with drugs as a way of lashing out or even of exploring their own identity as separate from their parents.

Discovering that their teenage son or daughter is experimenting with some form of illicit drug is a common fear among parents.

I  can be an effective way of ensuring that experimentation doesn’t turn into a habit.

That’s why Bostec provides several options to assist parents in helping their teenagers put casual drug use in their past:

  • In-office drug tests: Bostec’s Lynden office on Guide Meridian is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays for professional drug testing. This can seem like a drastic step for many parents, but sometimes a no-nonsense approach — urine testing facilitated by trained drug testing experts — is best for kids.
  • At-home drug tests: That said, it can be difficult to bring teenagers to Bostec for a drug test. That’s why we provide another way. Concerned parents can stop by, visit with one of our staff members and pick up a home test kit so they can facilitate random drug tests at home. The kits also are available online.

Bostec is your Whatcom County partner in battling drug and alcohol abuse. We help families battle drug abuse at home, law enforcement battle alcohol abuse on the streets, and employers battle drug abuse in the workplace. We’re also available for workplace drug-test training throughout the Pacific Northwest.

To discuss further how we can be of help to you, drop by our office on weekdays or give us a call.


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