How I Knew My Daughter Was Using Substances and in a Mental Health Crisis
It was like a light switch — I asked myself, “Where did my daughter go?” I found out it was both substance use and mental health issues at the same time.
We work with a special group of moms and dads – Parent Coaches – who, just like you, have been affected by a child’s substance use. They are volunteers who receive special training from the Partnership and our clinical partner in order to help other families through similar struggles. In these blog posts, they answer parents’ most frequent questions.
If you ever feel unsafe or physically at risk as a result of your loved one’s behavior, or if you ever feel like your loved one is in imminent danger of harming themselves, you should call the police.
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 your local police. Calling the police to help you deal with a loved one’s addiction may at times be a subjective choice.
Statistics show that the use of alcohol or other substances by a family member is frequently a contributing factor in domestic violence cases, and 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 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.
Sometimes calling law enforcement can mean negative consequences for your addicted child or loved one, so the decision to do so is more subjective 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 may result in criminal charges being brought.
Likewise, if your child or loved one is bringing illegal drugs into your home, that may justify calling the police. Again, 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 might have to resort to calling the police. Just be aware of the possible consequences.
For the record, 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 want 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, you should do it. It’s your call.