In What Situations Might I Call the Police on my Child?

    When a child or loved one struggles with addiction, you are likely to find yourself in some difficult situations from time to time. Some of these situations may be made easier — and safer — by calling the local police. If you ever feel unsafe or physically at risk, or if you ever feel like your loved one is in imminent danger of harming themselves, you should call the police.

    Statistics show that the use of alcohol or other substances by a family member is frequently a contributing factor in domestic violence cases. If this is the case, you deserve to be safe. In addition, people struggling with addiction also frequently suffer from mental health issues, and can sometimes threaten to harm themselves. They deserve to be safe, too.

    Calling the police can also be helpful if a disagreement with an addicted loved one starts to escalate into something more than a civil discussion. Nothing gets accomplished when voices are raised and when arguments turn ugly. In most communities, police are more than happy to come to your home and help calm things down, and having a neutral third party intervene can be a huge help.

    However, calling the police to help you deal with a loved one’s addiction may also be a more difficult choice. Sometimes calling law enforcement can mean negative consequences for your loved one, so the decision to do so can be more complex depending on your specific situation.

    For example, if you discover that money or valuables are disappearing from your home, you may suspect your loved one. If talking to them doesn’t solve the problem, you may have to consider getting the police involved, which could result in criminal charges being brought against someone you care about. Likewise, if your child or loved one is bringing illegal substances into your home, that may justify calling the police. You should talk to your loved one first, but if a conversation doesn’t change their behavior, and you feel uncomfortable having controlled substances in your house, you may have to resort to calling the police.

    Having criminal charges filed against your child or loved one isn’t the end of the world. For some people, getting into legal trouble can serve as a huge wake-up call and help motivate them to change their behavior. Some communities even offer the chance for people struggling with addiction to enter drug treatment programs as an alternative to facing criminal charges.

    Regardless of the possible outcomes, if you ever feel like calling the police is the best thing to do in a specific situation, that is your call to make.

    Want to connect with another parent who's been there?

    Cathy is one of our volunteer Parent Coaches. Like all of our coaches, she knows first-hand the challenges of helping a child with addiction. In addition to their own experiences, all parent coaches receive extensive and on-going training.

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    October 2017

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