Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Need help with my son's drug use please offer advice

My son is 30. He is schizoaffective. He had been clean for about 8 years from using cocaine and was using pot on and off. Now he is back to using cocaine. I think he needs in patient treatment but I can only get outpatient treatment for him because it will not be covered. They say he is not a heavy user. The problem is he will not get help and he is owing money to drug dealers. This month he may lose housing if he owes too much.

Any suggestions???

Heavy user or not, those drugs are bad and affecting. Can you get him a caseworker to help out and find a program? If you put him in outpatient, you just gotta go to every meeting and be on top of him so that he doesn’t use. How did he even get the drugs?

Edit: Last option you could have police intervention, but if you can get him hospitalized it’d be best.

Is your son currently in treatment & taking meds?

Reckless spending & loss of income control could be a sign that he’s going manic.
Or, he could be self-medicating to alleviate symptoms.

What does he say about it? or does he agree that he has a mental disorder?

There is so little you can do to help your son right now. Al-anon or Narc-anon meetings are for family members of people with substance use disorders. Also, NAMI Family and Friends support groups for people whose family members have mental illness, including dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance use disorder together).

These meetings will not help your son directly, but might help you. Also, the best places to get information about what is available for your son in your area are people who have gone through similar difficulties. NAMI especially might have members and participants who know what resources to try for in your city, county, and state.

What I’m saying is no one can control another person’s drug problem. Yes, he owes people money. Yes, he might lose housing. These are not problems you can solve without making the drug problem worse.

Look around your city for resources such as homeless shelters and other supports he can access for free until he is clean and able to be part of the family again.

As you know, mental illness cannot be successfully treated while a person has active substance use disorder. He needs dual diagnosis treatment, inpatient most likely. Like you said, the system won’t let him in to the treatment he needs right now. But hopefully that will happen sometime in the near future.

My son is 35, schizophrenic since diagnosis at age of 14. He started using cocaine and crystal meth about a year ago, and we’ve watched his slow descent into homelessness, loss of friends and family, and criminal charges. It has been such a sad, helpless feeling, but have come to learn that we have absolutely no control over his drug usage, nor are we responsible. We were able to get him into a residence that keeps him off of the streets, and provides 3 meals a day. This is all covered by AISH, which he receives due to his mental illness diagnosis, thankfully, in Alberta, Canada. The only thing we do is keep in telephone contact with him and get together every now and then away from our home, to share a meal, talk, hug and tell him that he will always be loved. We don’t want him to give up hope. Our goal at present is to get him into a rehab program that is a year long, but he has to volunteer to go and he’s not at that stage yet, although he talks more and more about wanting to get off of the drugs that are slowly sapping the life out of him. It’s difficult for a family or loved one to stand by helplessly, but they have to want to get help, it can’t be forced on them. You have to take care of yourself and your family and not let your drug addicted child take over your life. They have to suffer the consequences of their decisions, not you. Having a mental illness isn’t a natural cause for drug addiction. It can open the door to it, but you don’t have to enter. That is the same for everyone, mentally ill or not.



Unless he wants the help he cannot be forced and right now he doesn’t seem to want it.
He will not do the outpatient. Drugs are very easy to get you just have to ask the right people and he was getting it on credit. Now he is not so we will see. Last time he stopped he was going to NA meetings and then he got clean and stopped. That was a big mistake - to stop going to NA. He is not a danger to himself or others so they will not commit him. He has a team that works with him but he does not cooperate with them.

We will see what happens. He is on meds and they seem to be working even with the drug use. I am trying to do what I can to get him away from the drug use right now. He is 30 and an adult which makes very hard.

Thanks for replying.

I get it. If that’s the case, the best thing to do is to tell him it’s a deal breaker and leave. If he loves you, he will stop and do things the right way. That’s how I got mine to take the meds and quit doing drugs.