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3 things to remember if your teen is arrested for a drug crime

Any parent who gets a call that their child was arrested for a drug or alcohol crime can feel overwhelmed with emotions, from anger and disappointment to fear and anxiety. Parents can feel as though they have failed somehow, or that their child is a bad kid who is destined for a life of bad decisions.

However, if you are in this situation, you need to take a few things into consideration before making any sort of decision about your child. 

  1. Teens make mistakes, no matter how parents try to prevent it. It is essentially scientific. As noted in this article, the prefrontal cortex is the last to fully develop in a young person's brain. This is the area that controls reasoning and impulse control. In other words, kids don't think of the risks and rewards associated with drug use in the same way adults do.
  2. There may be some false sense of security if the drug involved is prescription. Teens might see parents using Xanax to calm down or be told that they need to focus more, so they take Adderall. The fact that prescription drugs, including opioids, are so prevalent today can blur the line between safe and unsafe drug use considerably. Your teen may be justifying use of these drugs because they are legal.
  3. Your child needs your help. Too many parents get so upset with their child after a drug charge that they want to teach him or her a tough lesson. However, as angry and upset as you may be, letting your child go through the criminal justice system alone and wind up with criminal record is only going to make it significantly harder for a child to learn and move on from the mistake.

Teens are not the same as adults, and we should not hold them to the same standards. This is particularly true in the context of criminal charges.

If your teen has been charged with a drug-related crime, whether it is possession, use or distribution, then it is crucial that they get help to protect their future. This might mean counseling or rehab as well as legal support to seek a reduction or dismissal of the charges they are facing. 

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