If you are currently dealing with a teen that is using drugs, it is important to understand that they are not suffering from a disease called addiction. Your teen could be going through a temporary phase of experimentation, but for parents this is naturally alarming. There are many things you should consider before you put your teen in drug treatment or rehab.
Addiction is not a disease. Society views everything as an addiction but drug treatment centers use the disease of addiction as an excuse to make a larger profit. The treatment industry is a multibillion dollar money maker that profits from people believing they are sick with an incurable disease. When people believe they are powerless and their condition is chronic, this creates a steady stream of repeat customers and revenue. In a 2011 comparison the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found the 67.5% out of 31 million initiates of illicit drugs was marijuana, whereas heroin was at 0.1%, cocaine at 0.2% and pain relievers came in at 14% use.
According to SAMHSA's 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 10% of teens aged 12 to 17 report using illicit drugs. The vast majority reported using marijuana, while the remainder used prescription medications, inhalants, hallucinogens and the smallest percentage (0.3%) reported cocaine use. The study was conducted by SAMHSA in included all ages from 12 years old and up and split the results based on age groups. The same study showed that drug use peaks between ages 18 to 25 years old, with the rate of illicit drug use increasing across all drug categories. Marijuana remains the most common drug used by teens. It is clear from the study that many teens do experiment with marijuana and some use it regularly, but does this mean you send your teen to drug treatment? The answer is no.
Reflect back on your own substance use as a teen or young adult. Consider that according to the NIDA Monitoring the Future Surveys nearly half of 12th graders report using an illicit substance. This implies that half of adults today used drugs as a teen. Perhaps you used drugs as a teen or young adult. You may have even struggled at one point with excessive drug use, but like most people you may have outgrown the problem when different things in life became more important such as career and family.
Furthermore, do not be deluded into thinking that because you or your parent or sibling had a problem that this means your child will develop the problem as well. Research over the years has also proven that even if the genetic marker research was totally accurate it would reveal that more than 80 percent of persons possessing the gene variant predicting addiction would not become addicted (Peele 1990). Most teens will naturally mature out of problem substance use, but those who become intertwined in 12 step programs and are exposed to drug treatment at a young age usually are actually more likely to continue their problem drug use as an adult.
The primary reason why you should not send your teen to drug treatment or rehab is because these programs will teach your teen they are forever diseased as a drug addict or an alcoholic. This is damaging because your teen could actually start believing it. If someone tells you that you have cancer and will not survive you will likely accept your own defeat.
It's been documented however that those who kept high spirits can sometimes beat the odds through the powerful thinking and positivity. These survivors told themselves they could survive and they did; this is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Addiction is not a disease, but many use the disease theory as an excuse to play the perpetual victim. Not only does addiction treatment create a negative self image for those trying to overcome a drug problem, it leaves your teen with a reason to keep using and use more! If your teen has an excuse to not take responsibility for their own actions, most will use it.
Another reason to avoid drug treatment, especially those that recommend 12 step meeting as aftercare is that in drug rehabs, your teen will be exposed to all kinds of drug users, who will likely teach your teen more behaviors that are far worse than marijuana use. Additionally many AA and NA meetings serve as a hunting ground for sexual predators and many people with criminal histories are mandated to drug treatment and meetings. The anonymous nature of the meetings makes it a great location to prey on vulnerable victims. There are senior members of AA and NA who may entice new members with attention and even drugs or alcohol in exchange for a sexual relationship. These older members or "13 steppers" know that newcomers are vulnerable and love to get high so they persuade those with the temptation of getting high. Young people should avoid these meetings at all cost, as success rates for young people are near zero percent.
Saint Jude Retreats offers a highly effective non-treatment approach to teen drug and alcohol use problems. The Saint Jude Program will not label your teen sick or diseased but will instead show them the immense power and control they have over their own behaviors, thoughts and their life. Saint Jude's helps your teen to mature out problem substance use and the emotional problems that can go with it.
Even if you are hesitant about the Saint Jude program, we welcome you to call one of our caring family consultants to discuss your specific concerns and options. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that we are non-treatment and our 12 times more effective than traditional treatment and 12 step programs. Through our 22 years of research and experience in the field we have found what many other independent researchers have, that addiction is not a disease but rather a series of habits and behaviors. Your teen does not need drug treatment, they simply need to mature out of these behavior problems.
Our program will help put them on the path to achieve what they desire, whether that is applying for colleges, obtaining a GED or building a career. Once your teen realizes that taking responsibility and control of their life has infinite benefits, and that they have so many options that will bring them happiness, they will adjust their priorities and put their behaviors more in line with their goals. Call today to learn about our programming options for your teen. We have financing options and we are a third of the cost of rehab or treatment, why wait any longer?