Family and Community
Do Now List
- a list of what to do now to keep your child drug free.
PDFs to Download / Print
Helpful Lists and Information
What To Look For
It is important to keep in mind that if a child shows any of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is
using drugs. A substance abuse or mental health professional may help a child successfully overcome a crisis and develop more effective
The key is change; it is important to watch for any significant change in your child's physical appearance,
personality, attitude or behavior.
Physical Signs of Drug Abuse
- Loss of appetite, increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss or gain.
- Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
- Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
- Cold, sweaty
palms; shaking hands.
- Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
- Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
- Extreme hyperactivity; excessive
- Runny nose; hacking cough.
- Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
- Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
- Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse
- Change in overall attitude / personality with no other identifiable cause.
- Changes in friends; new hangouts; sudden avoidance of old
- Change in activities or hobbies.
- Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
- Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
- General lack of
motivation, energy, self-esteem, "I don't care" attitude.
- Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
irritability, or nervousness.
- Silliness or giddiness.
- Secretive or suspicious behavior.
- Car accidents.
- Chronic dishonesty.
- Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.
- Change in personal grooming habits.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Tools for Parents
Although such topics as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs are emotionally charged, they are a natural and necessary part of communicating
process you have with your child. Clearly, the best time for such a conversation about drugs is when your child brings up the
topic. For most parents, however, it's not this easy and it may become your responsibility to raise the subject. You'll want
to pick a time and a place that make it possible for you and your child to be comfortable and undisturbed.
Remember that the
purpose of this encounter is communication, so listen to everything your child has to say. Observe his or her nonverbal cues
- they will let you know how he or she feels about having this conversation. Listening means paying special attention to what
is said, both verbally and non-verbally.
Communicating with your child about drug use should not be a one-time occurrence or
a one-way process. Conversations about tobacco, alcohol and other drugs are not like inoculations that can protect children for all
time. Talk with your children often as they grown from preschool to adulthood.
Common Concerns Parents Have
"I don't want to be a hypocrite..."
What if you smoke, enjoy the occasional cocktail or experimented with drugs once yourself?
This is a legitimate concern, but it should not dissuade you from communicating honestly with your child and sharing what experience
has taught you. You don't have to project a perfect image to be an effective communicator! We are all human, and this is
in itself an important message.
"I don't want to plant ideas in my child's head..."
Are you concerned that you might inadvertently
prompt your child to consider drug use when it wasn't even in his or her mind to begin with? Don't worry; discussions don't
suddenly make children users. In fact, you can safely assume that your child is already aware of alcohol, tobacco and other
drugs. Discussing these topics clarifies information and lets children know your views - it doesn't invite them to use these
"I am uncomfortable with this role..."
There us nothing wrong with sharing your discomfort with your child.
No doubt he or she already senses it. An admission from you reassures your child that your anxiety stems from within you, not
from something he or she has said or done.
Your child says...
Your first response may
be to blurt out...
| A better response would be...|
Timmy has started smoking
I'm going to call Timmy's
parents. They have to be
told and that's all there is
How do you feel about Timmy
to smoke and his
parents not knowing
Pot can't be all that bad for
you because I've seen kids
who use it and they're fine.
It'll be bad
for them it they
get caught and end up in
trouble with the law.
I'd like to share with you some
of the information I read about
marijuana over time.
You lived through the 70's.
why don't you let me live
through my decade
without your interference.
don't want you to make
the same mistakes I did.
Sharing my experiences and
listening to yours are among
the most important things I
do for you as a parent.
Nobody else has parents
this strict. You're still living
in the Dark Ages.
One day you'll be down on
knees thanking me.
How would like me to be?
What do you think would be
most helpful to you?
How can you tell me not to
when you inhale two
packs a day? Isn't that
Don't you dare talk to your
father like that.
I know I'm not
providing you with
a good example. I'd very much
like to quit.
Helpful examples of parent-child dialogues
Remember: take inventory of all Rx drugs and keep them in a secure place and constantly update!
To report drug problems in your community call Nassau County District Attorney's Office Anonymous Tip Line at 516-739-6666.
In addition, the NCPD offers an Anonymous Drug Analysis Program, for parents or guardians. If you discover your child has a
substance you think is a drug, the NCPD’s program will test and identify the substance and provide anonymous advice and counsel from
a member of the NCPD Narcotics/Vice Squad. No criminal charges will be filed as a result of items submitted for analysis. Parents/Guardians
may bring the suspicious substance to their local precinct stationhouse along with an envelope. For more information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mineola-NY/Nassau-County-Police-Department/316906272595
NCPD Anonymous Drug Analysis Program
The Nassau County District Attorney has recognized that the County is suffering from a heroin problem of epidemic proportions. In
"Not My Child," a 45-minute slideshow presentation, her staff presents stories of heroin addiction and discusses signs of addiction
and ways to try and combat the problem. The presentation includes a statistical comparison of heroin deaths to other crime related
fatalities to illustrate how significant a problem this is in our communities. There is also a discussion of recent heroin investigations
and their impact on our neighborhoods. This piece is designed to inform parents and educators that no child is immune from this growing
problem, that it is difficult to spot in its early stages, that EVERY community can suffer from its effects and that we must all partner
to tackle this deadly issue. This presentation compliments the presentations of both the police department and treatment facilities.
information on how to schedule a presentation, please call 516-571-3707. Please check the DA's website for more community programs.
DA's website: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/da/index.html
Nassau County District Attorney's Office
Not My Child Presentation
Heroin Prevention Task Force
Family Support Groups
Addiction is a family disease. Having a family member - a son, daughter, spouse, parent, brother or sister -
who is struggling with drug addiction can be frightening, frustrating, depressing and all-consuming as you join them in virtual
roller coaster ride of highs and lows.
Family support groups help you get grounded, learn some facts about addiction, and come
up with strategies that will help give you some peace of mind. You'll gain perspective, new insights and walk away with new
resources for coping with the disease of addiction. Most importantly, you'll be able to connect with other families, understand
that you're not alone.
Residents with an addicted family member are welcome to attend, regardless of whether their loved one
is in treatment, has begun the recovery process or is still actively using drugs or alcohol. The groups are professionally facilitated,
completely confidential and meet every Saturday from 10:00 to 11:30AM both at LICADD's Williston Park office located at 207 Hillside
Avenue and at our Ronkonkoma office, located at 2805 Veterans Highway, Suite 26. Also contact NAFAS for family support. View