How can we get son into treatment?

by Toni
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

We have a 32 year old son who says he occasionally smokes marijuana, but and we are seeing all the signs of addiction: his attitude, lack of sleep, mood swings, isolation, and never wanting to interact with people.

We suspect he has been smoking for many years. He does not think that he has a problem and says he can quit any time. So I want to know, what should we do as parents to help him, or get him into a treatment program?


Obviously you see a problem with your son’s behavior – attitude, lack of sleep etc. But these symptoms can be for many reasons, not necessarily marijuana.

To evaluate if there is an addiction problem your son needs an assessment, evaluating not only his drug use, but also other factors in his life. This process is simple. It entails a discussion as well as a quick written assessment with a specialist in addiction. He will also see how high his drug use is compared to the norm (the norm being the population in general) and if he is actually dependent on it.

There is little parents can do to get a 32yr. old into treatment or counseling. Your son denies that he has a problem, however, his behavior upsets both you and your husband. If your son is living at home, or you support him financially, the only thing you can do is to give him an ultimatum – either he gets the help you demand, or you’ll retract your support.

Unfortunately, only the court can mandate an adult to treatment.

All the best,


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