How to talk to your son or daughter when you suspect prescription drug abuse

Before approaching your child, talk to a professional for advice. Before your sit down with your child, think about the goal of keeping your him/her safe. If you have a partner, discuss what you will do together beforehand so that you are on the same page. It's important to be united, so you can make it clear that you are, as a family, going to treatment regardless of what your child may say. Highlight your concern and the specific signs and symptoms you have observed.

When speaking with your child, remain non-judgmental. Do not criticize your child or compare him or her to someone else.


  • Let your adolescent/young adult know how much you love them
  • Empathize; listen to them describe their feelings, pressures, and perceptions
  • Gently ask follow-up questions and summarize
  • Guide your child to an understanding of the consequences of drug abuse
  • Make it clear that you and the family will seek professional help

Do not

  • Use loaded or critical language
  • Compare your child to others - either in a positive or negative way
  • Interrupt your child when he or she is genuinely trying to describe current pain, difficulties, or a situation in his or her life


This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.

Recommended Content

People also viewed...

You recently viewed...

Personalization is OFF. Your personal browsing history at is not visible because your personalization is turned off. To view your history, turn your personalization on.

Learn more on our .

*Recommendations are based on site visitor traffic patterns and are not endorsements of that content.