Author: Vicki Hamlin

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A Conversation with My Teenage Son About Drugs

When my 16-year-old son came into our family room to play a video game, I was delighted. I don’t get a chance to sit and talk with him often, so I quickly turned off the episode of Intervention I’d been watching. He sat down beside me. “What do you think makes a person try their very first drug?” I asked him. “Been watching drug addicts again?” he asked in return. I admitted I had. “After however many years of saying no, they one day say yes. What makes them do it?” “I have no idea, Mom,” he answered, taking off his sneakers. “Of course not,” I countered, “but try anyway.” Tactics I’ve used with middle school students in my classroom for 14 years work just as well on my son. First, acknowledge they may not have an answer, and then demand one nonetheless. I’ve learned you can’t assume to know what’s going on inside a teenage brain. “Okay,” he said. “I guess they want to escape and feel good.” He chewed at the edge of a fingernail. …