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To Sam

Is my parent taking drugs?

I think my dad may be taking drugs and I don't know what to do. He often leaves the house in the evening, this seemed normal at first as he works nights and likes to get fresh air and go for walks. Yet I was on his phone texting my mum, and noticed many texts sent to and received from a contact named Alex talking about 'delivering' and meeting and my dad asking for 'q of top' or 'q Newton'. This has confused me and makes me suspect he may be buying drugs, which upsets me a lot. I don't know what to do, I want to tell my mum but what if I'm wrong or I upset her, I don't want to harm my mum and dads relationship, but I feel like I need to do something!
Ask Sam



It can be difficult to think that someone we look up to could be involved with drugs. Parents and carers can be role models so when they do things that let us down it's hard to accept. You don’t have any responsibility for what your parents do or how it affects their own relationship.

The older you get, the more you may see your parents doing things that you might not expect them to. This could partly be because they think you're old enough to know about it. Or it might be that you’re just old enough to notice. It can be hard to begin to accept these changes at first.

Parents are especially likely to let us down because we often have such high expectations of them. Anyone who is a role model has a lot to live up to, so when they do something that we don’t like, it can really hurt us.

I can understand the worry that your dad might be using drugs. They can be dangerous and it might also feel like a bit of a betrayal. It’s never really comfortable to know that a member of the family is keeping something secret from everyone else. If this is very out of character for your dad then you may be worried that he's using drugs to cope with other problems.

You're left in a position where you know some of what’s going on, but not everything. When in a position like this it’s usually best to put your mind at rest one way or another. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

One thing you can do is to accept that your dad has chosen to keep this private and that if he is making his own decisions about it. This can be a difficult thing to do because you care about him, but it's an option.

Talking to either your mum or dad about this is also an option, but may be difficult for other reasons. Confronting your dad about this may be scary as you are not sure how he might react and telling your mum about it is worrying in case you are wrong. It’s important that you remember that your feelings are important and that you have no responsibility for what your dad does or the effect is has on your parents relationship.

You can always talk to an adult that you trust about this situation instead of mum or dad. They might be able to help you find out what’s happening, or talk to your parents for you. You could also explain that you are worried that you could be wrong and that you don’t want to harm your parent’s relationship but that it has been stressful for you.

Don’t forget you can always talk to a counsellor at ChildLine confidentially about this situation. You can talk to the counsellor about how you feel but also think together about what you might like to do next.

I hope this helps – thanks for the letter.

Take care,

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