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My Child Tried Drugs – What Should I Do?

My Child Tried Drugs - What Should I Do?

How to Handle Teenage Drug Use

Feeling concerned about your child’s drug use can be very stressful. Some parents try to help, while others put up with it without saying much. If you are in doubt about whether to step back or step up and offer support, there are some tips about how to handle teenage drug abuse.

Understanding Drug or Alcohol Use

Various misconceptions about addiction prevent people from accepting, coping, or dealing with their child’s drug abuse. It also prevents them from helping to stop it.

Out of the 5.1 million adolescents with a substance use disorder in 2018, nearly 9 in 10 did not get treatment.

But drugs or alcohol react differently in the brains of adolescents than they do in adult brains, which places young people in a vulnerable position. It makes them more prone to addiction. Studies found that among people aged 26 and over, those who began drinking before 15 were five times more likely to report having an alcohol use disorder than those who waited until age 21. Substance use also has long-term effects on a developing brain. This means that concerned parents might have to rightfully remain so.

The best protection against drug use or a drug problem is by giving children the facts even before they are at risk. But in the case that a child is already using drugs or has a problem with substance abuse, understanding exactly what it means can greatly help prevent it from progressing or repeating. Getting them the treatment they need may help prevent a series of risks.

Substance Abuse

In case there are mental health issues in a family, there should be extra caution about a child taking drugs. Mental health and addiction are often related. But while substance abuse has been linked to mood swings, depression, and many other serious mental health issues, anyone runs the risk of an overdose from taking drugs. That even includes healthy, fit, young people. The risk depends more on the type of drug, whether it is mixed with other drugs, and how much of it is taken.

Most young people are experimenting with drugs, and this often causes concerned adults to accept risky behavior as a phase of adolescence. They assume their children won’t become regular users, and even though this possibility truly exists, moving away from it may cause a person to miss a crucial part of the bigger picture. Catching a child smoking once or being drunk once and addressing it may seem enough, but parents may not know the whole scope of their children’s substance use. That is why it is never too soon or too protective to speak up, even when someone is sure their child is simply experimenting.

As teens commonly exhibit risky behavior, drug abuse increases these risks and can have serious and potentially life-threatening effects on them. Out-of-character behavior may lead to injury, unprotected sex, drunk driving, or overdose and can completely change a young person’s life. These risks can come even by just experimenting.

A developing brain can be damaged in the long run if it is exposed to substance use. It can lead to learning difficulties in adulthood, and according to the CDC, can contribute to the development of adult health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and sleep disorders.

How to Handle Teenage Drug Use?

How to Handle Teenage Drug Use

While it is a frightening time when suspecting a child is using drugs, the most crucial thing to do is to confront it so that you may support your child.

Neither talking to your teen about drug abuse, nor the help of addiction professionals can happen too early. But how would you talk to your child?

Like any important conversation, taking time to prepare and plan may be best. While the most important thing may be simply listening and talking to your child, taking a deep breath and planning what to say can help.

Be Informed

Knowing about drug and alcohol abuse is key. Being aware of the signs of substance abuse can help prevent the continuation of it, and can enable a person to take action right away. But it is also important to learn the common reasons why young people develop a drug problem. This may help someone spot any underlying cause for their child’s substance use and seek help to address this.

Different types of drugs bring about different effects and the reasons for taking them accordingly. Finding out about the specific drug a teen is using could inform a person greatly of what the child may be experiencing when taking the drug, the reasons for taking it, and the consequences of it. Many parents may prefer to stay out of the details, but to provide children with facts and warn them, adults may have to do some research and address any of their own questions about symptoms, types of treatment, and possible recovery.

Be Aware

Some young people could use drugs or alcohol for years without anyone knowing. By the time someone suspects a possible problem with drugs, it may already have developed to be serious. Teens may be very secretive about their alcohol or drug abuse, while adults may also be preoccupied or not notice a change in their child’s behavior.

Being aware of a teen’s behavior may mean paying more attention to social changes, warning signs of substance abuse, or keeping a closer eye on their activities. It can also mean being more attentive to a child’s stress, their coping mechanisms and knowing when they are going through tough times.

Fostering a safe environment and one that is free of drugs is also vital, so parents may have to become aware of their personal alcohol use, or the general health of the household.

Don’t Turn a Blind Eye

It can be difficult, but turning a blind eye may only make matters worse. This is especially true when kids are using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, or when they are at risk for developing an addiction. If a bothering feeling has been around, it is best to trust these instincts.

A teen’s drug use may lead them to a downward spiral and place them in serious harm if someone does not intervene immediately. Discovering the first signs of drug or alcohol abuse means that it is already the best time to act.

Remaining active in a child’s life is important; instead of looking the other way, know who their friends are, how they are feeling, and how they are spending their free time. Talking about the dangers or the influence of drugs or alcohol is one way of being active. Share and explain the possible jail time or fines for drunk driving as a consequence of using illegal drugs, or the possibility that someone may be seriously injured or killed.

Be Indirect

Often people who think their children may be using drugs may panic. Young people who experiment with drugs may not develop any issues, but even considering the risk that they do, it is best to stay calm. A successful conversation with a teen about substances may require a person to act and react informed and composed.

Direct accusations of involvement with drugs, showing anger, or being overly emotional may not work. Substance abuse behaviors may have been mistaken for symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem, or a teen may be experiencing pressure at school and may not have shared the details. That is why the conversation may be best started with questions and indirect statements.

Sharing news about drugs used in professional sports is an indirect channel to start a conversation and provide information about the risks of drugs. Keeping the subject broad and not reacting in a way that may shut down the conversation helps. Open-ended questions about your child’s friends or what they like or dislike about their school avoid a yes or no answer from them, and can start a conversation. A nonjudgmental, caring manner of asking questions is more likely to provoke honest answers, while a lack of confidence or distrust may cause a child to shut down.

Allowing a lot of time for response, keeping open communication, truly paying attention, and not rushing the conversation can help.


Often kids come forward with concerns or questions when their self-esteem is boosted. Making talking a regular part of the day may make this particular conversation stand out less. Try to talk to your child after their achievements are praised, or when engaging in activities where you can stay connected. Attempting to talk to them when they are high may not be the right time. Walking together or driving in the car may be a time to bring up a conversation, as some teens are more likely to talk when they do not have to make eye contact.

Don’t Give Up

Teens may refuse to talk, may deny that they are taking drugs, or become aggressive. It may require patience and a little more time from parents to get through to them, but the important thing is not to give up.

If a child refuses to talk, it is important not to panic, but instead, address the behavior. Instead of emphasizing the drugs, a person could set clear limits about behavior they find unacceptable, or that it may come with consequences. Continuing to highlight things that worry a parent, and expressing concern over a child’s well-being, without blaming the behaviors on substance use, is important.

Be Prepared

It may be helpful to be fully prepared. That means, for every possible outcome.

A child may open up about their use of drugs and ask for help, in which case a parent should have done their research and have an available treatment option ready. They might need to know exactly how to respond to make their child feel safe and let them know that asking for help is okay or be able to share treatment options and their benefits.

A parent may have to be prepared for when a child is using drugs and denies it, too. Many parents find physical evidence of their child’s substance use and may want to use this as a means of insisting, while other parents believe that looking through their teen’s things is an invasion of their privacy. Either way, following up and monitoring their behavior is vital with, or without evidence.

Before attempting the conversation, it may be useful to think of any rules or consequences of breaking these may be, or what exactly a parent wishes to express and how. The details of a parent’s concern should be fully expressed to both the child and perhaps a child’s pediatrician. This may help determine whether a teen has a medical or mental health problem underlying substance use, or causing behavioral changes on its own.

Having a goal or desired outcome for the initial conversation with a child may make it go better. While it may be best to keep expectations low, and unrealistic to expect admittance and a pledge to stop right away, an objective of expressing to them that you don’t want them to use drugs is the first win. The first conversation may only achieve the initiation of speaking, but by setting a small goal and moving toward it step by step, other conversations may be very successful.

Professional Help

While it is critical for a parent to establish whether their child has developed a substance use disorder or has made drugs a habit, professional help can help at any point. Even if a teen does not admit to regular abuse of drugs, or they do not show signs of addiction, they may still be at risk for developing one when they are adults.

Drugs and alcohol can affect a teen differently than they would at other ages, and mental health professionals at treatment centers have expertise on how to help. Substance use disorders are very difficult and sometimes impossible to overcome without treatment help, and the earlier help is sought, the better.

Support Groups

There are many support groups available for the family members of addicted individuals. Here, family members can learn how to support their children, how to deal with altered family dynamics, as well as to voice their feelings. They can lean on others and learn from their coping strategies while being in touch with a community group that understands the challenges they may have.

Where Can I Find a Treatment Center?

Where Can I Find a Treatment Center?

If you are worried about your teen’s addiction to drugs or their mental well-being, Clearfork can help. As a center specializing in behavioral health treatment for substance use, mental health, and the co-occurrence of the two, Clearfork’s residential rehab for teens provides the most supportive environment for your child and family members.

By including individual, family, and group therapies, we can help any young person who struggles with the physical, mental and social bonds of chemical dependency and mental health. With our outdoor adventure program and 24/7 staff and nursing support, Clearfork can provide your child with a healthy future, starting today.

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Admissions: What to Expect

If your child is struggling with substance use or mental health issues, there are already so many hurdles with which your family is coping. That’s why Clearfork Academy makes our admissions process as simple as possible.
We’ve broken down the admissions process into these 5 simple steps:

  1. Contact us
  2. Provide clinical information
  3. Fill out insurance verification of benefits form
  4. Review
  5. Schedule an admission date
Checking your child into a residential treatment facility is already challenging enough, so we strive to make everything else go as smoothly as possible. What do our 5 steps entail?

1.  Contact Us

Making contact is the first step, but we know it can often be the most difficult. Clearfork has a multitude of different ways to initiate contact via our website These include: by phone, though our online form, and over an interactive chat feature.
Many parents find a phone call is the most convenient option and we assure you that our team is standing by to accept your call. We also have an email dedicated to the admissions process:


2.  Provide Clinical Information

This is the stage where we have a conversation about how your teen is struggling. Providing the pertinent clinical information allows us to define what treatment options would best fit their unique needs and assess our ability to provide recovery options. 
We don’t admit every teen in need: During the clinical assessment and approval process, we make sure they are a good fit for our community and that our treatment options will meet their needs. Accurate and transparent clinical information is the key to ensuring we help you find the best care possible for your child.


3.  Fill Out Insurance or Verification of Benefits Form

Most families qualify for reduced out-of-pocket costs based on their insurance coverage. Clearfork Academy is in network with Magellan & Blue Cross Blue Shield, a preferred provider with TRICARE, and works well with other insurance providers as an approved out-of-network option. 
The easiest way to check your coverage status is to fill out our verification of benefits form, but we have other ways to evaluate coverage as well. We work on a case by case basis to make sure we get the right plan in place for you. 


4. Review

The review step is exactly like it sounds: Our team will review all of your family’s information and formulate the best care strategy for your teen. We’ll ascertain if your kiddo is a good fit for the Clearfork program.
This is also the time we will ask for confirmation that Clearfork Academy is the facility for you!


5.  Schedule an Admission Date

Now it’s time to schedule the admission date and time. There are a multitude of times that we’re available, and we can accept admissions 24/7. However, because we like to give kiddos the opportunity to meet our staff and tour the facility during our normal operating hours, we prefer to avoid late night arrivals.
Once the admission process has been completed, our team initiates programming and the healing process can begin.


If you have a child that may be struggling with a substance use and/or mental health disorder, please give us a call at (888) 966-8604, email us at, or visit our website at We are standing by and ready to assist your family on the road to recovery.


Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now



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A Day in the Life at Substance Abuse Treatment

Leaving your child in someone else’s care is one of the hardest things for any parent to do. Even when our brain knows it’s the best thing to do, the heart has trouble letting them go. We’d be lying if we said it was easy, but having clarity on what life will look like for your child while they’re away can ease this anxiety. 

We want to give you the confidence that Clearfork Academy is truly creating the best environment for their recovery, so here is what a day in the life of your teen looks like during their substance abuse and mental health treatment. 


Our Morning

Our days are robust and full of activity. Some might even say exhausting, but this is what we strive for. We pack in as much therapeutic activity as we can to get the maximum amount of long-term benefit and mental healing for each minute your child is with us. 

We start early. Before 8 a.m., we do the normal waking-up routine of getting dressed, brushing our teeth, having breakfast; then we do what we call “The 3 Gs”:

– What is our Goal?
– What are we Grateful for? 
– What are we expecting God to do today?

It’s our way of setting purposeful intentions from the very beginning each morning, and it helps us get into a positive mindset to tackle the rest of our day.

With our minds now focused, it’s time to start the school day. Lessons go for four hours, from 8 in the morning to noon, to make sure they are staying sharp and not sacrificing their education while in treatment.


Our Afternoon

There’s a brief time set aside for relaxation and mental rest in between the end of our school day and when we break for lunch. Then, we’ll eat together before our 1 o’clock group. This group session is focused around a life skill that your child can take with them for real-world application every day. 

Here, we’ll cover topics like time management, conflict resolution, and other skills that may be hard to learn independently. These are all best practice, teachable moments that can have a massive impact on their future success and happiness, which is why we’ve made them a part of our core curriculum. 

At 2:00, we jump into process group. We really get into that next level of engagement;  it’s not a time to simply complain about our day. This is where we get to know the intimate details of each other’s hearts. There will be laughter, tears, and bonds formed here to get your child through their treatment while they discover their own sense of self. 

There is also an hour dedicated to fitness. We have a variety of planned structure activities designed to work out your child’s body and mind. We practice calisthenics, cardio, and offer free weights and other various exercise equipment. The exertion is a great way to stay healthy, and the physical activity is its own form of therapy. They can work out whatever is on their mind through sweat, grit, and their own strength.

Later in the day we have our family sessions and one-on-one counseling time. Family sessions are designed to address your family’s unique needs, so everyone can begin to heal. During one-on-one counseling, our therapists work to help your teen understand the underlying causes of their addiction and find lasting change. 


Our Evening

After we have dinner, and our nurses make medication rounds, we spend time in our smart recovery and 12-step based NA or AA style group sessions. This is the time we will really talk about the in and out of addiction: the signs, the symptoms, the steps to recovery, and the interventions. We diagnose what the nuts and bolts of teenage substance abuse are and break it down for them to understand what they’re dealing with. These can vary from speaker meetings to step studies, etc. 

Next, we have a time for meditation and self-reflection, and this is when we will also do an informal discussion to share about how the day went. We check in every morning with our “3 Gs”, and at night we check out by sharing our wins for the day. 

Lastly, we will cap off our rigorous day with a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is crucial; it’s the brain’s time to store information, process memory, and this is when the body does it’s best healing. 


In a Nutshell

Our weekdays are packed to ensure your teen is getting the structure and every facet of therapeutic activity that they need for their recovery. The weekends are still full of clinical engagement, but it’s also a time for rest. Their minds and bodies can relax a bit more in anticipation of the week to come. 

At Clearfork Academy, our thirteen-week program is based on our core values and best practice interventions to help your teen process, understand, and recover. This isn’t a band-aid. These are lifelong skills for long-term success.

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 888-966-8604, email us at, or visit our website at!

Want to learn more? Click here to check out our YouTube Channel!

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12-Step Program for Teens

Let’s jump right in and answer two of the most common questions we get asked:

  1. Is Clearfork Academy a faith-based program? Yes. 

  2. Does Clearfork Academy use the 12 steps? Also, yes!

That’s right, Clearfork Academy is a faith-based, 12-step recovery center for teens struggling with substance abuse and mental health. On our campus, the 12 steps are posted on our wall, and are reviewed every evening. We also have group meetings on Saturday mornings. At the same time, our treatment modality is Christ-centered. While others may struggle to blend faith and recovery, it’s what we do best. At Clearfork, our Founder/CEO (Austin Davis, LPC-S) completed his undergraduate degree in pastoral ministries and went to seminary. He then earned a Master’s in Divinity as well as a Master’s in Counseling. With the help of his background, we are able to seamlessly combine the faith-based aspect with the 12-step program. We offer our teens a well-rounded curriculum with health and recovery always being our #1 priority!


“I love the 12 steps! The first three steps are very God-focused. He’s going to restore me to sanity, He’s going to take care of my problem and then I’m going to have to have an understanding of who this God is. That’s where Clearfork brings such a unique position on this. We’re going to bring in that ‘faith stuff’ from my background and education. When we talk about ‘the God of our own understanding’, it’s going to be the God who saves. It’s going to be the God who restores. It’s going to be the God who provides. It’s going to be the God who desires praise and relationship!”Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO


At Clearfork, we want our teens to have an understanding of who God is and what God does as they work through the 12 steps. Teens in treatment at Clearfork Academy aim to complete one of the 12 steps each week so they can receive their chip before they leave campus! We also encourage them to continue going to meetings, and to get a sponsor after they’ve completed treatment with us.


If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re happy to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at, or visit our website at!


Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now


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Navigating The Holidays With A Struggling Teen

The holiday season is a stressful time of year for many families. If your teen is struggling with substance abuse, that stress can multiply exponentially. We understand, and you’re definitely not alone! You may have a kid at home that is fighting addiction on a daily basis. Or maybe you have a teen already in treatment. Whatever your situation, here are some practical tips to help you get through this holiday season.


For the family with a teen at home struggling with addiction:

If your teen has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the holidays can be especially hard on you as a parent. You want to celebrate as usual, but the stress and worry about your teen can take over quickly. Here are some ways you can still find joy this holiday season.


Tip #1: Let go of your expectations. 

This holiday season may look different than last years, and that’s ok. Don’t pretend that everything is ok if it isn’t. Be present in the moment with your teen and give them space to feel their feelings. (And allow yourself space to feel your feelings too! Feelings can be uncomfortable, but they are a normal part of the human experience!)

Tip #2: Accept your current reality. 

No matter who  sits around your table this year, try to find peace and joy in what you have. 2020 has been full of surprises! Navigating through the holidays with an addicted teen can be equally unpredictable. One day at a time, your family will get through this!

Tip #3: Find gratitude in the small things. 

Oftentimes, our minds gravitate to what isn’t right about a situation. This year, I challenge you to intentionally look for the good throughout the holidays. Thank God for the little blessings. You have been blessed for many years, and substance abuse cannot take that away! 


For the family with a teen already in treatment:

If your teen is in treatment for substance abuse, we know it’s especially painful being separated during the holidays. Looking back on holiday traditions that your teen is missing this year is hard! We empathize with you, and we want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Remember when we mentioned that feelings are good and normal- despite being uncomfortable at times? Allow yourself the space to feel the uncomfortable stuff, while also reminding your brain of what’s true. When you feel down, remind yourself that the truth is that your child is in the right place, getting the help they need so that they CAN be a part of all of the holidays to come! Here are some tips to help you through this difficult season.


Tip #1: Be encouraged.

Know that your teen is right where they’re supposed to be! They are busy doing the work that must be done to restore their health. It’s hard, but it is worth it! The ultimate goal is for your teen to be sober, full of joy, and back on track. That’s exactly what they’re working on while in treatment! 

Tip #2: Relax while you can.

You don’t need to worry about your teen. They aren’t sneaking off to get high, or going to parties with kids that are a bad influence… Not this year! Take a breath, and realize that the responsibility isn’t on you this holiday season to keep them out of trouble. You don’t have to monitor their every move. You can rest easy, and know they are safe in recovery. 

Tip #3: Stay the course.

We know it may be tempting to pull your child out of treatment during the holidays. You miss them, and you want to be together. It’s so important to remember that leaving treatment too soon can result in huge setbacks. (Even if you’ve seen improvements.) The health and recovery of your teen likely depends on them staying in treatment. They must complete the course set before them! Remember, you’re sacrificing this holiday season so your family can have the next 20, 30, 40+ years of holidays together!


If your son is in treatment at Clearfork Academy, know that he is loved and well taken care of here! Our boys are being treated to some delicious holiday meals, and fun activities. Your son is putting in the recovery work, and finishing what he started. He is busy learning, growing, creating new habits, and ultimately- getting healthy!


If your teen needs help, don’t put it off any longer! Don’t wait until after the holidays, time is of the essence! At Clearfork Academy, our clinical admissions counselors are on call 24/7, even during the holiday season! Please reach out and let us help you take the necessary steps to get your teen on the road to recovery! Give us a call at 888-966-8604, email us at or visit our website at!


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Here’s Why Clearfork Academy Is The Best Treatment Option, Even If Your Son Isn’t A Christian!



You’ve landed here in your search for answers. You’re trying to find the best way to help your son with his substance abuse issues. You’ve seen what Clearfork Academy has to offer, and you like what we do here… but you’re a little hesitant. Because we are a faith-based organization, you’re wondering if your son will fit in. Are you a Christian, and your son is not? Has your family never done the “religion” thing? Does your son have completely different religious views from Christianity? How will all of this affect his treatment if he comes to Clearfork Academy? Will he feel uncomfortable or left out?


Let me start by saying, your son’s health and recovery will always remain our #1 priority.


“I am a clinician first! By choice and by law. My world view is through Christianity, but we are person-centered here at Clearfork Academy.”Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO


Person-centered therapy has a way of sparking a desire for personal growth in the boys we treat. We want them to be comfortable here and know they can trust us. If your son is into sports, music, sneakers.. that’s where we are going to start! We want to build a relationship and rapport with him, so we can help him take those first steps towards recovery.


We are God-centered in the things we do day-to-day. We have chapel, devotions, and prayer before meals, but NOTHING is ever forced.  Once a relationship is built, and your son is used to our culture/community, then we will discuss “the faith thing.” Only when he’s ready. He will decide when/if that is something he wants to talk about.


Rest assured, your son does not have to be a Christian to come to Clearfork Academy. Likewise, we aren’t looking to brainwash your kiddo with our religious views. We care about your son. We care about his health and recovery. We are here to help teens like him overcome their addictions, and find a new legacy! 


If you still have questions or concerns, contact us today. Our clinical admission counselors are standing by, ready to provide you with professional guidance on your son’s unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at or visit our website at!