My child’s drug use is because he got in with the wrong crowd

It’s so tempting to blame our child’s initial drug-seeking behavior on “hanging out with the wrong crowd.” It’s the number one go-to reason parents tell me is the reason for their child’s drug use.

Kids start using to:

  • Ease their pain and feel better
  • Feel good
  • Relax
  • Relieve boredom
  • Belong

In my opinion, “to belong” is rarely the reason these days. We think our child chooses some friend group that just happens to all start using about the same time and our kid gets innocently sucked into the vortex of substance misuse.

The truth is, those who are struggling tend seek each other out. They are struggling with a loss, their depression or social anxiety, and they start using drugs because at first they make them feel better. Once they start, they want a group of people with whom they have a lot in common. Heavy drug use is a common ground so the friend groups start to shift. It’s a toxic environment. It was obvious to me that Charles’ childhood group of buddies was the same and the only defector was Charles.

I understand that to resolve all this in our minds, the parent minds, we want to believe our kid was better than the others. I sure did. Not my kid.

I wanted to believe Charles had been influenced by “the wrong crowd” but spyware indicated he also swiped medications from friends’ medicine cabinets as often as they raided ours.

I thought their kids looked sketchy and suspect. And they thought the same about mine. Eventually I could see there was a lot of finger pointing behind the scenes fueled by our frustration not to be able to stop what had become a really bad habit.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

3 thoughts on “My child’s drug use is because he got in with the wrong crowd”

  1. You are very right. No mother or father want to think their child is to blame. I have an ex sister in law who was a heroin user for years. Her boyfriend died of an accidental overdose. She ended up in hospital. Then prison. Now years (20+) later she is clean and helps others, talks to groups ect. My children saw their Auntie at her worst and they are so anti drugs. I’m so glad. You talking about this helps so many Anne. Thank you for this blog x

  2. Agreed.
    One thing that bugged me more than the “sketchy friends”, were the parents of said friends who would say one thing to my face & then smoke pot with my 13 y o kid.

    1. Oh my gosh. And what killed me was the parents who would criticize so and so’s kid to my face when I knew theirs was doing worse stuff. They thought they were in the clear but the spyware revealed so much. I would have told some of them but they were just acquaintances and not ready to hear it and would have shot the messenger.

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