How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Drug Problem

Feb 13, 2024 | Addiction, Adolescent Treatment, Communication, Drug Usage Archives, Substance Abuse

Starting a conversation with your parents about a drug problem is a scary concept; you might be worried about their response or causing them stress. In addition to this, you may be feeling guilt, shame, fear, and uncertainty. Even so, addressing the issue is the very first step toward seeking help and healing. In this blog, we explore the importance of opening up to your parents about your drug problem and offer guidance on how to approach the conversation.

The Importance of Communicating

Sharing your drug problem with your parents might be uncomfortable, but it is important. Your parents, who love and care about you, are likely to be your strongest allies in seeking help. Keeping them in the loop is important for your own recovery as well as their mental health. Here’s why it’s important to communicate:

Emotional Support

In most cases, parents serve as a stable source of emotional support. They can provide empathy and comfort during difficult times. Leaning on your parents, regardless of your age, is not a weakness, but a strength.

Access to Resources

Your parents can help you access resources for treatment and rehabilitation that you might not otherwise be able to access. They might know about local support groups or treatment centers that would be beneficial for your recovery. Financial support from them could allow you to access better services as well.


Sharing your problem with your parents helps you to establish accountability. When you keep your drug problem a secret, it’s far easier to fall back into unhealthy patterns. Your parents could assist in monitoring your progress and making sure that you stay on track with your recovery plan.

What Does The Data Show?

Before we get into the strategies for approaching your parents, let’s look at some statistics that highlight the gravity of drug addiction:

  • Prevalence of Drug Addiction: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in the United States, approximately 20.3 million people had a substance use disorder in 2019. 
  • Teen Substance Abuse: The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that substance use often begins in adolescence. In 2020, about 1 in 13 adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a substance use disorder. 
  • Overdose Deaths: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, there were approximately 106,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States.
  • Denial and Lack of Treatment: In 2021, roughly 94% of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment at all.
Approaching the Conversation

Getting the conversation started is the hardest part for many. You might not be sure where, when, and how to begin. There are a few helpful guidelines that you can use to set the stage appropriately and give the conversation the best possible chance to be successful.

  • Make Sure the Conditions are Right: Find a quiet and private setting where you can talk without interruptions. Choose a time when your parents are relaxed and receptive. Do not begin the conversation if either you or your parents have used any mind-altering substances.
  • Thoroughly Prepare Yourself: Before talking to your parents, it’s essential to gather information about your addiction. This includes understanding your substance abuse, the impact it has on your life, and what you need to address it.
  • Be Honest: As scary as it is, honesty is important. Avoid minimizing the problem or making excuses. Sharing your thoughts and emotions openly will help your parents understand your situation better and make the entire conversation easier.
  • Express Your Desire for Help: Let your parents know that you are ready to seek help and that their support is necessary for your recovery. This can provide much needed reassurance and hope.
  • Provide Information: Present any information you’ve gathered about addiction, treatment options, and the steps you plan to take to recover. This can alleviate some of your parents’ concerns and help them believe that you’re ready for help.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Understand that your parents may have strong emotions during this conversation. Stay calm and patient and avoid getting defensive.
  • Be Prepared for Unpleasant Reactions: Your parents’ reactions may vary, from anger and disappointment to sadness and confusion. Be prepared for these emotions and give them time to process the information.
  • Make Your Commitment Clear: Reiterate your commitment to seeking help and working towards recovery as this can provide a sense of assurance.

Even with all these guidelines in place, the conversation might still be hard. Understand that this is normal and that it might take some time for your parents to come around. During this time, remain strong in your desire to get help and be patient as they process this news.

Final Thoughts

Telling your parents about your drug problem might not be comfortable but it is necessary to get them to help you. In most cases, the transparency and readiness for treatment will be enough to ease any of the fear and anger that they might feel. And if not, you can remain confident that you made the right choice by being open and honest. Asking for help is never easy but it is the vital first step towards overcoming the hardship that is addiction.

New Dimensions Can Help!

New Dimensions specializes in helping adolescents and adults overcome alcoholism, substance abuse, and other addictions. To learn more about our intensive outpatient treatment programs, visit our website at or call 800-685-9796. 

To learn more about individual, family, and couples counseling visit