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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.
Substance use can be stressful for every family member. Siblings can often feel helpless as they are caught in the middle of a substance use issue. They can also feel that they are not getting support from their parents and this can lead to anger and resentment.
Siblings handle the problem of their brother or sister’s substance use in their own unique ways. Some try and have heart to heart talks with their sibling, others want to help, and can sometimes help too much, others would prefer to ignore the problem, and not to talk about it.
One of the best ways to prevent the negative feelings from your other children is to be sure to spend quality time with them on a regular basis. Do what you can to not create a situation where everyone is focused on the child with the substance use issue. Your other children will feel neglected and taken for granted which can cause resentment.
Reach out to your other children on a regular basis, so they have an opportunity to share their feelings about the situation. Your other child may feel embarrassed by their brother’s use, and may be teased or ostracized by their friends because of the use depending on their age.
It is understandable that they feel angry and resentful, so provide opportunities for them to reach out and get help. They will have the opportunity to express their feeling and have them validated. They can receive counseling individually or participate in family counseling.
To give them an opportunity to talk with others who are going through the same experience, support groups such as Alateen can be helpful For older siblings, SMART Recovery for Families and Friends provides live and online meetings. Al-Anon is another support group that gives support for siblings.
The more you can reach out to all your children with compassion and understanding the easier it will be to unify your family once again.