Parenting tips for helping a child after addiction treatment


Caring for a child after they have gone through addiction treatment can be stressful, but parents can take several precautions to prevent serious problems.

A substance use disorder usually requires continued aftercare following drug detox. However, many parents have impractical expectations that their son or daughter is immediately ‘fixed.’ A drug addiction is best treated as a chronic disorder like asthma or diabetes — health issues that also require continued treatment

“It’s helpful for parents and families to be supportive if their child has a substance use disorder. Recognize that a substance use disorder is a medical condition, not a moral failing,” said Ramon Bonzon, public health advisor at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

He added that “SAMHSA recognizes the need to increase access to training and education for parents, family members and caregivers in order to provide appropriate post-addiction treatment for their child.”

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers parents critical advice to increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety for their children after treatment. They recommend removing all potential temptations from the house, such as any substances and paraphernalia; securing or removing any alcohol or prescription drugs; and finally, securing the child’s room of possible drug stashes with more than one search.

The organization also recommends obtaining naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug. This is especially critical if the child has an addiction to heroin or painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet.

In several states, pharmacies provide naloxone without prescription. Parents should make sure the antidote is accessible at all times and more than one family member knows how to use it.

Prioritizing an aftercare plan is also urgent. These plans include family counseling, recovery support groups, psychiatric appointments, and outpatient programs. If transportation to important appointments can become problematic, making arrangements ahead of schedule will help.This could require time off from work, but a parent’s continued involvement in a child’s recovery is essential even if he or she says it isn’t.

Additionally, parents will need to establish boundaries for the child. Some families may even find useful to create a… (continue reading)