“I can’t believe my child is using drugs! What do I do?” This is the statement that can be heard from parents all across Arizona today. A mom, dad, brother or sister calling in panic as they see their loved one going from an “A” student, star football player or loving brother to a different person. For the parents who have found the drugs in a child’s bedroom or smelled the alcohol on their child’s breath, they go through a range of emotions from disappointment to fear. The first thing to do as a parent is to take a deep breath and get a plan together. With organizations like DrugFreeAZ.org, parents can get assistance and put a plan in place to get their child the help that they need.

Why is this so important? Ninety percent of adults seriously addicted today started as teenagers. The earlier we can intervene and get help for the child, the better off they will be in the long run.

There are approximately 11 million kids and young adults in our country today are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and only 1 out of 10 get the help they need. Parents who find themselves in this situation, need to take action. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s substance use, then it’s time to intervene.

Here are some ways to take action, to prevent addiction:

Start Conversations

If you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, the best thing to do is start a conversation. While the initial talk may be awkward, taking the first steps to become more involved can help protect the individual from potential danger and further dependence on the substance. DrugFreeAZ.org offers suggestions on ways to start conversation as well as tips to help detect early abuse.

Time to Act

When all signs and symptoms point to substance dependence, then it’s time for an intervention. Keep in mind that helping the person addicted may take time and multiple interventions. According to DrugFreeAZ.org’s intervention guide, it is important to go into an intervention with a plan. While an informal intervention can be effective, in more severe situations, it may require a more formal method of intervention, like that of a counselor, therapist or doctor.


After an intervention, it is essential to follow up and set expectations. Just setting rules isn’t enough to help the person change their ways. Keep a close eye on your loved one, monitor their activities and their whereabouts. By staying involved, you can help them avoid risky situations and certain influences, like friends and social connections, which may lead them back into substance abuse.

Be Supportive

The decision for treatment and recovery ultimately has to come from the person addicted, but having a support system is an important part of maintaining sobriety. Building a support network with friends, family and individuals who are positive can help through the recovery process.

Know That You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone is dedicated to helping the families of the 11 million American teens and young adults who need treatment for drug or alcohol abuse — that’s 1 in 7 teens and young adults! With your help, we can lower the barriers families face in getting young people the treatment and recovery support they need.

While there is no guarantee the process will be easy, it’s an important part of helping your child or loved before it’s too late. Stay connected with your child or loved one. Taking the first step is always the hardest, but a life free from substance dependence can inspire hope and provide a healthier lifestyle and future for them.

For more information about addiction and additional resources, visit drugfreeaz.org.