My Son Is Using Heroin and Says He Will Detox with Suboxone. But, He Tells Me This Every Weekend. We’ve Told Him, if He Needs Help, We Will Get It for Him. I Don’t Know What to Do. Any Suggestions?
Even if your son truly wants to stop using heroin, it sounds like he needs more help. Actions speak louder than words. How much leverage do you have with your son? Can you demand that he gets evaluated now, not tomorrow or next weekend? Often people come into treatment somewhat unwillingly, but they become grateful when they start to lead a clean and sober life.
Some heroin addicts do well using only a substitution therapy, like Suboxone replacement. Others need the additional help and time that a treatment center can provide.
Local treatment centers and regional treatment centers like Rosecrance in Rockford may be able to provide you with additional guidance on how to approach your son. In addition the anonymous SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 can be a good resource to contact.
I would also suggest that you get help for yourself through an organization like Nar-Anon that offers peer support from others who are in similar situations with their loved ones.
It is not uncommon for addicts to make and break promises, but every time your son uses heroin, he runs the real risk of death.
You also asked if you should tell his girl friend’s parents that she is using heroin. First, it is very unlikely that one person will remain clean from heroin if their partner is actively using. Second, if you were unaware of your son’s use would you want a concerned person to let you know or would you rather have them keep it a secret? This is something you have to decide.
Michael Kuna, M.D.
Genesis Clinical Services