- Educate yourself on use, abuse and dependence.
- Prepare to have a conversation with your child.
- Think ahead of time or talk with your spouse and come to a decision on the position you’ll take.
- Gather any evidence that you have.
- Stay calm throughout the process.
- Have a conversation with your child.
- Be specific about what you’ve noticed and what you’re concerned about.
- Set and revisit rules and consequences.
- Review some advice in our Talking With Your Teen section.
- Monitor for Alcohol Use
- Visit our Monitor section for more information.
Get Help and SupportYour child’s alcohol or drug use could be a sign of simple rebellion, full-fledged addiction, or anything in between, so the first thing you need help with is identifying the actual problem.
This is best done with the help of a trained adolescent substance abuse professional who can help you determine the extent of the issue and assist you in obtaining resources specific to your child’s needs and developmental stage.
For more information, including about the resources below, you can dial 2-1-1
Student Assistance ProgramsStudent Assistance Programs (SAPs) consist of trained student assistance counselors and/or student assistance teams.
SAP counselors and teams give educational presentations that help prevent substance use, identify students with problems and coordinate student support groups, and may also refer students to community programs for treatment. By being located within the school, SAPs help build strong connections between students, their families, school personnel and community service agencies.
Pediatrician/Family DoctorContact your child's doctor to discuss your concerns. Your family doctor will be able to talk with your child about alcohol and its effect on the body.
Remember—for confidentiality reasons, a doctor can't tell you what your child disclosed, but he/she can help persuade your kid to stop drinking or to get treatment if the problem is more serious.
Treatment ProvidersIf your child’s drinking has begun to cause problems within the family, at school or in the community, it’s time to start looking into treatment. This is best done with the help of a trained adolescent substance abuse specialist. He/she can help you determine the extent of the issue and offer treatment resources best suited to your child’s needs and developmental state.
Most local treatment agencies have a range of specialists on staff and provide the stability, education, discipline and counseling that adolescents need to get better.
Friends of Recovery-VermontFriends of Recovery-Vermont is a grassroots advocacy organization that helps spread the word about the value of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and the effects of addictions. Friends of Recovery sponsors the FACES Network (Families of Addiction Consulting for Effective Services) which is made up of Vermont parents and families that have been personally impacted by adolescent substance use and/or mental health issues.
Prevention ConsultantsRegional Substance Abuse Prevention Consultants (PCs) are based in Vermont Department of Health District Offices and provide the following services:
- Presentations & Trainings
- Program Planning & Consultation
- Community Grants
- Community Organization
- Information & Referral
Community CoalitionsVermont substance abuse prevention coalitions are community-based organizations dedicated to creating a safe, healthy environment for young people. Find and connect with the coalition most convenient for you:
Did Your Teen Get a Possession of Malt Beverage (PMB) Ticket?Youth who violate Vermont’s underage possession and consumption of alcohol laws (7 VSA §656 and §657) are referred by law enforcement to the Teen Alcohol Safety Program (TASP) run by the court diversion program in each county. Participants pay a fee, meet with a qualified substance abuse counselor for a screening or assessment, must follow the recommendations of the counselor, and might have to participate in an educational program and perform community service.
If an individual fails to complete the contract, the ticket is sent to the Vermont Judicial Bureau where a fine is issued. The Vermont Judicial Bureau then informs the Department of Motor Vehicles which suspends the individual’s driver’s license. For more information, visit the TASP web site.