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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

5 Tips for Getting Drug or Alcohol Addicted Teenagers into Rehab

Drug use issues among teenagers may be on the decline in the U.S., but those with substance abuse problems often aren’t receiving the treatment they so urgently need.

A 2014 report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that almost 25 million Americans ages 12 and up currently need treatment for drug or alcohol problems. However, only 2.5 million sought professional help.

For addicted teens, parents will find a plethora of specifically tailored treatment programs that allow them to continue with their studies while receiving treatment. If you are the parent of a child who is struggling with a drug problem, here are five tips to help you get them into an inpatient rehab program and ensure they get the tools required for sobriety.


Using a calm tone and demeanor, explain the changes you have noticed in your teen’s behavior or performance at school. Give them an opportunity to speak and see how willing they are to be forthright with you. You also need to be firm and let them know that their drug use will not be tolerated. Make it clear that there will be consequences if they continue to use drugs or alcohol.

Stress Individuality

treating a teenage boy for drug addictionThe National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that 52 percent of high school students know of a place on or near school grounds where classmates will get high. This knowledge can make it hard for teens to understand why they should be treated differently from their peers. Essentially, your child may say things like “If so-and-so can drink beer, why can’t I?” or “My friend smokes pot whenever he wants to and he’s not addicted.”

When talking to your teenager, stress that each individual is wired differently and has different susceptibility levels for addiction. Explain that, even if they commit to giving up drugs or alcohol, they will need some kind of professional help to meet that goal.

Take Advantage of Outside Resources (Treatment Counselor)

In all reality, one of the last things teenagers want to do is listen to what their parents have to say. Bringing in a professional counselor or former addict willing to share his or her story can bring a new perspective they haven’t heard. This is also a great way to help teens see the potential consequences if they continue down the same path.

The ultimate goal when utilizing outside resources is to help your child realize that they can’t overcome addiction alone.


After hearing that they need rehab, most teenagers will offer up staunch resistance. They may not know how addiction treatment works or they might even be afraid of living away from home.

Rather than engage in an argument, ask them to come up with three reasons that detail why they don’t want to get professional help. Once they’ve listed them, talk to your child and work to find solutions related to his or her concerns. And be sure to counter each of their negatives with a positive.

Make it clear that you will support them and make regular visits as they are going through treatment. This will help them feel like they aren’t being punished or “sent away” for bad behavior.

Take Control of the Situation

As a parent, you’re the one in control. If all other options fail, you can send your child to rehab without their approval as long as he or she is 17 years of age or younger.

While it’s possible that your child will be convinced to change after entering treatment, forcing people into rehab often produces bad results. Simply put, they don’t get much out of it unless they want to be there. This highlights the importance of having an open and honest conversation with teenagers, making them understand that addiction is a road that leads to nowhere.

Learn more about options for teen drug rehab treatment.

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