Calling the Police on Your Child for Substance Abuse

When a child is struggling with substance abuse, many families try to handle the situation in-house for various reasons like embarrassment, finances, and the perceived best interests of the kiddo. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. If the situation escalates, your family faces a tough question: 

“When is the right time to call the cops and bring in somebody other than a family member to take legal responsibility for my teen?”

The answer isn’t black and white. Police involvement is never ideal for parents. You never want to get your child into trouble, but taking accountability for their actions is sometimes needed when their safety or the safety of others is at risk. Calling the police is a way to get the law in your corner for recovery and prevent your teen from continuing down a more destructive path. 

Here are the two most important factors to consider when calling in outside help like the police:

1. What is your child’s mental/emotional state?

If they are having thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or even homicide, it’s time to get the police involved. If your teen’s physical and biological well-being is beyond your help, seeking help from an establishment to stabilize them is essential.

2. Do they pose a danger to the world around them? 

Destructive behavior, damage to property, stolen possessions, threats of physical harm, and even real cases of bodily injury are common. These behaviors are red flags that your teen may need outside help.

As parents, you have to set the tone and be ready to follow through on your commitment. If your boundary is, “If you bring drugs into my house, I will call the cops on you,” monitor the actions of your child. If they disregard your boundaries and expectations, it’s time to follow through and get the police involved. 

Substance abuse should not be taken lightly, and it’s key to remember that there can be legal ramifications for both teens and parents. Harboring drugs and paraphernalia is most common, but substance abuse can even lead to harboring weapons and illegally obtained money in your home. Believe us, we’ve seen it. 

Set your boundaries and expectations, then repeat them over and over to your child. Before calling the police, before involving a mental health authority, establish those boundaries and expectations. If your child falters on upholding them, then it is time to call the police. Remember, if their mental/emotional health is in danger (especially from self-harm, suicide, or homicide), substance abuse can only make this worse—step in. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and dial 911 to save your child’s life. 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at (817) 259-2597, email us at help@bivisee1.sg-host.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com

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