It takes a lot of courage to seek help for a child with a possible drug problem. The decision is often difficult and sometimes painful.

If you’re ready to seek professional help for your child, you can call the health department or a doctor. Either will ask your child a series of questions about use and risky behaviors and may also conduct a urine and/or blood test to identify any drug use. This screening will help determine the extent of use (if any) and the best pathway for treatment.

If a doctor or other specialist recommends inpatient treatment, insurance may cover a stay. When deciding on a treatment facility, make sure and ask about costs ahead of time. If you need help finding a low-cost option, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers a confidential, one-on-one family support line at 1-855-378-4373. The line is available weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live chat support also available at All communications are free and confidential. The partnership also offers dedicated parent coaching, which provides additional support over the course of about five calls.

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