What to Do if You Find Out Your Son is Dealing Drugs

Finding out that your teen son is dealing with illicit substances or drugs can be shocking and unsettling for any parent. As a caregiver, you might feel angry, scared, confused, or guilty. You question yourself: how did this happen, what did you do wrong, and what should you do next? Believe us when we say that it is not entirely your fault. Your fallacy can also cloud your judgment and prevent you from taking the best approach to stop your son from peddling drugs.

According to Garland Gerber, MA, MFT, CADAC-II family therapist at Key Healthcare, “the first thing you need to do if you find out your son is selling illegal drugs is to stay calm. Do not confront him in a hostile or accusatory way, and do not jump to conclusions. You also need to gather more information and understand your teen sons’ psychology before you act. The best course of action is to initiate open and honest communication with your son.”

Garland works within the community, providing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Mental Health awareness education to clinicians, law enforcement, families, and students. She further adds, “If your teen is arrested while dealing drugs in California, consult with a legal professional to help you complete enrollment requirements for Juvenile court diversion programs. These programs in the CA are designed to rehabilitate teens rather than punish adolescent offenders and to prevent them from reoffending in the future. The availability and eligibility of these programs vary state by state and often depend on the discretion of the prosecutor, judge, or probation officer. “

If parents want to know how to approach their son about his drug involvement, assess the level of risk and harm, seek professional help if needed, and support their son’s recovery and well-being, then read till the end to know the structured and understanding approach to deal with this challenging situation.

Understanding Drug Dealing By Teens In California

Drug dealing in California is not the same as drug use, teen substance abuse, or teen alcohol abuse, although they may be related. Drug dealing involves selling illicit substances that are illegal or controlled in the US, such as cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs. Illegal drug sale is a serious offense with legal, social, and other possible consequences for your son and others. Some specific signs suggesting your son may be involved in drug dealing include:

  • Suddenly, he has large amounts of cash or expensive items that he can’t explain
  • Having a flashy lifestyle
  • He is carrying multiple phones or SIM cards that he uses secretly or frequently
  • You find scales, baggies, pipes, syringes, or other drug paraphernalia in their room
  • Having frequent visitors or deliveries at odd hours
  • Changing his appearance, behavior, friends, or interests
  • He is being secretive, defensive, or aggressive when asked about his activities
  • Showing signs of drug use in teens, such as mood swings, weight loss, red eyes, or needle marks

However, these signs are not conclusive and may have other explanations. 

Also, have a peek at this important read: What to Do If You Find Drugs in Your Child’s Room?

Immediate Steps to Take When You Suspect Your Teen Sells Drugs

If you suspect your son is dealing with drugs, you must take these immediate steps to help him:

1. Open a conversation with your son and set clear boundaries.

  • The first step is talking with your son calmly without yelling, blaming, or judging.
  • It will help you listen to his side of the story and understand his reasons and feelings.
  • Express your concern and love for him and explain how drug dealing can take him behind bars, impacting his entire life.
  • As a parent, also show some tough love here, set rules, clear boundaries, and expectations for his behavior, and let him face the consequences for breaking them.

2. Seek professional counseling, legal advice, and consider family therapy.

  • The step after that is to consult a counselor or a therapist who can help your son overcome his addiction or mental health issues, if any.
  • You may also need to seek legal advice from a lawyer or a social worker who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your son’s rights.
  • You may also consider teen family therapy, which can help you improve your communication, trust, and relationship with your son and other family members.

3. Monitor your son’s activities and evaluate his school and friend environment.

  • Parents can install gadgets and devices to monitor their son’s activities and whereabouts without letting them know about it.
  • Regularly check their phone, computer, or social media accounts for any red flags of drug dealing or use.
  • Try understanding who he is hanging out with and whether they influence his drug involvement.
  • You may need to change his school or limit his contact with certain friends if they encourage or enable his drug dealing.

These are some of the immediate steps you can take if you suspect that your son is dealing drugs. However, these steps are not enough if your son has a teen substance abuse problem. You must also follow up with long-term actions (like teen substance abuse treatment) to help your son recover from his drug problem and prevent relapse. Some of these actions are:

Long-term Action When You Find Out Your Teenager is in Drug Dealing or Drug Abuse

1. Intervention

  • If your son is resistant or in denial about his drug problem, you may need to stage an intervention with the help of a professional or a trusted person.
  • An intervention is a planned meeting where you confront your son about his drug problem and urge him to seek treatment.

2. Counseling

  • Child Counseling with professionals can help your son understand and change his thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to drug dealing and use.
  • Teen CBT or DBT for teens can help your son cope with his challenges, develop new skills, and achieve his goals.

3. Family therapy

  • Enroll in teen family therapy involving the whole family to improve communication, trust, and relationship between the son and parents.
  • Family therapy can also help you support your son’s recovery and deal with any family issues that may contribute to his drug problem.

4. Rehab centers

  • Teen Rehab centers in the US provide residential treatment for teens with substance abuse addiction. Key Healthcare Rehab Center offers various therapies and treatments, such as detoxification, medication, therapy, education, support groups, and aftercare for teens.
  • Residential centers can help your son overcome his physical and psychological dependence on drugs and learn how to live a drug-free life.
  • Parents dealing with teenage drug use should remember that they are role models for their teens. Their love and support can help their teen son recover from his drug problem. 

Are you thinking about CBT for your teen son? We provide CBT for teens as a part of our teen treatment programs for substance abuse.

Legal Help When You Find Your Son is Dealing Drugs

We can’t give you a simple answer to whether there is any legal help for your teen when it comes out he is dealing drugs in the US. The punishment and penalties depend on the

  • Type and amount of illicit substance involved.
  • The state and federal jurisdictions.
  • The age and criminal history of your teen.

Some of the possible legal help available in the US are:

Juvenile court diversion programs

  • It can help avoid formal prosecution and criminal records if you provide evidence for drug treatment, counseling, community service, or restitution.
  • Will order young offenders to rehabilitate rather than punish.
  • The availability and eligibility of these programs vary by state and county and may depend on the discretion of the prosecutor, judge, or probation officer.

Drug courts

  • These specialized courts handle cases of teens involved in drug selling and substance use disorders.
  • Offender teens undergo intensive drug treatment, frequent drug testing, regular court appearances, and other conditions. 
  • These courts aim to reduce recidivism, drug use, and crime among drug offenders and improve their health and social outcomes.

These legal frameworks can help your teen when it comes out he is dealing drugs in the US. However, these options are not guaranteed or automatic and may require legal representation, application fees, court hearings, or other procedures. Therefore, you should consult a qualified lawyer to advise you on the best course of action for your teen’s situation.

Parenting Tips When You Find Out Your Teen Boy Sells Drug

  • Encourage your teens towards positive hobbies, community service, and employment. This gives them a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and belonging and reduces stress and boredom.
  • Help your teen connect with mentors, attend workshops, and seek spiritual guidance, advice, inspiration, and motivation.
  • One possible idea is to go for a picnic at a public park. A picnic can also help your son practice mindfulness, gratitude, and positive thinking, benefitting their mental health.
  • Regulate your teen son’s daily routine, prevent late-night outings, and ensure adequate sleep.
  • Limiting access to money can help reduce the temptation and availability of drugs and encourage financial responsibility.
  • Schedule random drug testing to monitor drug use, deter relapse, and provide evidence for treatment.

If these tips don’t work on your troubled teen and you, as a parent, hit the wall and have no clue what to do next, contact Key Healthcare. Our experts can help parents on how to deal with teenage problems.

Timing and Immediate Action Are Important

When you find out about your teen’s drug addiction or suspect him selling drugs, timing and immediate action can make a lot of difference. Parents must intervene as soon as possible to mitigate further harm, reduce complications, and increase the chances of recovery. 

The proactive measures mentioned above can help address the issue before it becomes too severe and uncontrollable. Moreover, when parents know the root cause of why their teenage son sells drugs, they can focus on finding the right solution.

Reason Why Your Teen Son Chooses to Sell Drugs

Some of the possible root causes of why your teen is selling drugs:

Peer pressure: His friends or associates may pressure him to join or stay in the drug trade. He may feel that he has to prove himself or fit in with a certain group.

Self-esteem issues: He may have low self-esteem or confidence and seek validation or respect from others through drug dealing. He may feel that he has no other skills or talents to offer.

Emotional or psychological challenges: He may have underlying emotional or psychological issues he is trying to cope with or escape from through drug dealing. He may be dealing with stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.

Motivated to Flashy Lifestyle: He may be motivated by financial needs, desires, or opportunities. He may want to earn money to support himself, his family, or his drug habit. He may also want to buy things he cannot afford, such as clothes, gadgets, or cars.

Thrill, Excitement: Your teen son may also see drug dealing as a way to express his rebellion, independence, or identity. He may enjoy the adrenaline rush or the sense of power and control that comes with dealing drugs.

These are some of the possible reasons why your son is dealing with drugs. However, every situation is unique and complex. You must approach your son with empathy and active listening to understand his perspective and motivations. Only then can you help him find a way out of this dangerous situation. Teens should also understand that risking their entire lives for thrills and a flashy lifestyle is irrational. There are better alternatives that can help them earn money without losing their reputation.

Some Alternatives Help For Teens Instead of drug dealing

Finding a legitimate job to earn money legally and safely without risking health or freedom. This will also develop your self-esteem as you gain respect and satisfaction from your work.

Involve yourself in learning new things, expanding your horizons, and increasing your opportunities to meet new people, network, and find mentors or role models.

Opt for any class, including sports, fitness, arts, crafts, music, dance, reading, writing, cooking, gardening, volunteering, or traveling, to have fun, express yourself, cope with stress, and discover your passions.

You can also join a peer support group or a 12-step program where you can share your experiences and learn from others.

What Could Happen When Parents Don't Take Action

Drug dealing is not a harmless or victimless activity. It is a serious and dangerous issue with severe consequences for your son and others. Here are some of the reasons why parents need to take action as soon as possible:

  • Drug dealing can expose your son to various risks, such as violence, arrest, teen addiction, overdose, or death.
  • He may be involved in fights, robberies, shootings, or raids.
  • He may face legal charges, fines, or imprisonment.
  • He may also develop a substance use disorder or physical or mental health problems.
  • If your son is dealing with drugs, he may neglect his education, career, or personal development. He may miss out on opportunities or potential.
  • He may also harm others by contributing to the drug problem in his community.
  • He may endanger the lives or well-being of his customers, suppliers, competitors, or bystanders.

Moreover, drug abuse can have moral and health implications that harm teen boys and girls. It can impair judgment, decision-making, and behavior, leading to unethical or irresponsible actions. It can also expose one to various health risks, such as infections, diseases, overdoses, and death. Therefore, it is important to address drug abuse’s legal and societal implications and seek help before it is too late.

Remember that your son’s drug dealing is not a hopeless situation. With your help and support, he can overcome his drug problem and restore his life.