E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Virginia Parents: Discussing controlled substances with your teen

Being a parent comes with a lot of responsibilities, especially when it comes to dealing with teenagers. At this point in their lives, it might seem like information overload when a parent shares everything they can about privacy, safety, education and just overall life lessons. However, it is important to convey to your teen the dangers of being related to drug activities, because this one will influence and may blunder their future.

Most parents and guardians may feel uncomfortable talking to their adolescent or teenager about drugs, but it is necessary to do so. Kids need to know the dangers of drugs and the legal repercussions that can follow a drug charge.

What is a controlled substance, according to Virginia’s law?

According to Virginia’s Drug Control Act, a controlled substance is any chemical/drug categorized in I through VI. Schedule I controlled substances are highly addictive and usually the most abused (LSD and Heroin). Schedule VI substances are more common items which are typically less abused, but still addicting, such as inhalants (toluene in spray paints, aerosol cans, etc.).

The three main drug offenses are drug possession, drug distribution and drug manufacturing. Adolescents and teenagers are more likely to possess and distribute drugs than manufacture, however, it is important to discuss all three with your teen and how they connect.

Based on Virginia’s legal code on illegal drugs, drug possession is anyone in custody of a controlled substance without a valid prescription.

Drug distribution is where someone sells, freely gives away or delivers a controlled substance. It does not matter if it is not theirs.

Drug manufacturing is where someone possesses the components necessary with the intent to produce drugs or they are already producing drugs without legal authorization.

How to discuss drugs with your teen

The legal repercussions of drugs can be severe, which is why it is important to educate your teen about the possible legal and physiological effects. Talking to your kid about controlled substances doesn’t have to turn into a lecture, it should be an interactive, open discussion. Ask your teen what they know about drugs, and the dangers they pose and how the State of Virginia treats drug violations.

According to Psychology Today, before even discussing with your teen about drugs, you first need to educate yourself a little on the overall topic, such as: what are considered controlled substances, ways to avoid it, how prone are your kids to becoming involved, any mental health concerns/ behavioral problems present which make drug use more likely, coming up with activities for your kids to be involved in which may sway them away from drug use, etc.

Just being there for your adolescent or teen and being open and honest in the discussion will serve to make progress.

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