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First Time Offender


Yesterday, my 15 yr. old was suspended from school for possession of prescription speed (Concerta) with the intent to deliver or sell. He has never been in any kind of trouble before in his life. I am worried because I have never had to deal with this kind of situation and I do not what to do or who to ask for help. The meds were my younger son’s that he no longer takes. My 15 yr. old was approached by another child for the meds. My son thought they were allergy pills. The other child promised my son a pair of boots. He did not know that he was giving the child narcotics until later. He had already given the pills to the other child. The other child was the one who was caught and I came to find out that it was his third offense. My son has been suspended from school for the remainder of the semester and will loose credit at school. I am scared. I do not know what to expect.

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I am very sorry to read how you and your family are caught in this web of teenage drug use and abuse. I want to speak honestly with you through this posting and I hope you do not misinterpret what I am about to point out. Also, what I am about to point out is my opinion.

1: I do not doubt that this is your son’s first offense. However, having been a parent of teens at one time and knowing all too well about the problem of teenagers, school and drugs, I am skeptical when you son states that he believed that the pills were “vitamins.” Kids today are very sophisticated and well informed about these things. Based on that fact, I tend to not believe what your son is telling you and I urge you to question him a lot more thoroughly. After all, he went into the medicine cabinet and took pills from a prescription bottle and not a vitamin bottle. I am quite sure that he is not dumb or stupid. But, yes, he made a mistake and he is very young.

Because of his youth, I believe that it is important that you, as his parent, use this terrible incident as an opportunity for him to learn a good lesson about morality, ethics, honesty and good judgment. He needs to know that what he did was wrong and wrong by any definition.

“Vitamins?” He had no right bringing pills of any type and for any reason, to school!!!

Mom, if you defend him as “innocent” and the school and other child as the guilty parties then he will learn the wrong lesson and I see this happen too often.

Now, having said this, I also believe that losing an entire semester is too harsh and innapropriate a punishment, in my opinion. You can appeal to the school authorities that the length of the suspension be shortened because this is a first offense.

Also, the school district remains obligated to provide him with instruction even if he is suspended. But, I want to encourage you to educate your son about the error of his ways and to nicely ask the school district for consideration based on both this being his first offense and based on the fact that you will strenously teach your son right from wrong.

2: Mom, you also made a serious error and one that is made by good families all over our nation. What is the error? You failed to throw away medications that are no longer used. It makes no difference what the medication is! It makes no difference whether the medicines are bought over the counter or are by prescription. It makes no difference if they are antibiotics, pain medications or any other type or variety: They must be thrown away when no longer used!!!

Families are being encouraged to put a lock on their medicine cabinet if they have medicines that they Must Keep because they are currently being used. Lock and Key: the best and only way to treat medications.

3: In my opinion it would be a good idea for your son and whole family to enter psychotherapy together in order to deal with what could be the beginning of a serious problem. In fact, my guess is that the school district would appreciate knowing that you were taking the psychotherapy route and might help in your appeal to them to shorten the suspension. Please, go for a psychotherapy consultation as soon as possible.

Best of Luck

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  • Kathy

    I agree with the doctor. Get help now at the first sign of trouble, and while you are legally able to ask and expect the child to participate. If the first source of help doesn't suit your child, find someone else. As I know from my own experience, once they are young adults you will have far fewer options to deal with this and your child's problems will be further advanced. You will also have plenty of time on your hands for regretting that you didn't act when you could!


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