September 12th, 2016 by Attorney Dan Carman
Once a parent, always a parent. No matter how old your children get, you always worry about them, want the best for them, wonder if you did right by them. Many parents look forward to the end of dirty diapers, toddler tantrums, endless school activities, and teenage rebellion, but then find it tricky to navigate a new relationship with their kids who are now grown-ups. Personality conflicts are common, and it can be hard to resist giving them unasked-for advice. If your adult child is an addict, the burden can leave you feeling helpless.
It’s no secret that substance abuse is a problem across the country and here in Kentucky. A 2015 Kentucky Health Issues Poll reported that more than one in ten Kentucky adults have family or friends who has had difficulties due to heroin use and one in four know someone who has misused prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, or codeine. Kentucky jumped from fifth place in 2014 to a second-place tie with New Mexico for the most drug overdose deaths per capita, which quadrupled between 2000 and 2014. In July, the state Office of Drug Control Policy reported that Fayette County saw a 30 percent jump in fatal drug overdoses last year, with most victims having multiple drugs in their system. Morphine was found in about 40.9 percent of overdoses, followed by cannabinoids at 35.7 percent and heroin at 28.8 percent. Other drugs commonly found in overdose victims included ethanol, alprazolam (Xanax), hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The statistics are as alarming as watching a loved one fight addiction, especially if that fight involves breaking the law. It is not an easy road, but if that loved one is your grown child, don’t carry the blame. All parents make mistakes. Moreover, your child is now an adult, and part of adulthood is taking responsibility for one’s own choices. He or she is capable of choosing between telling a lie or the truth, between detox or addiction, between building up or tearing down. Remind your child that it was their conscious decisions that got them where they are – and that keep them there.
The most effective way to love an addict while helping them at the same time is to hold them accountable for their behavior. Don’t enable them or allow their self-destructive behavior to destroy the family. You can offer to help find support services, but accept that you cannot make them take advantage of what is available. In Kentucky, parents are allowed under Casey’s Law to petition the court to order involuntary drug treatment for their adult children. The petition must show that the person is a danger to themselves. A court examination as well as a medical evaluation by two health professionals are then conducted. The treatment options can range from detoxification to intensive treatment through recovery, but the person seeking the involuntary treatment must pay all the court costs and the treatment costs.
Whether or not you choose to pursue an involuntary confinement, know your financial limits and don’t bankrupt yourself. You can offer money, but not to your own financial detriment. If you are afraid that the money will be spent on more drugs, don’t give them cash. Instead, buy the groceries or clothes they say they need; pay their landlord in person; put their car payment on your credit card. Putting conditions on the money probably won’t work – the unfortunate truth is that you cannot help someone who does not want to help themselves. Don’t equate the lessening of your parental responsibilities over time with the lessening of your parental love. They are not the same.
If your adult son or daughter has been pulled into the criminal justice system on drug-related charges, they have bigger issues than those who do not struggle with addiction. An advocate in their corner who will thoroughly review and investigate their situation can make all the difference in the charges filed against them, the outcome of the court case, the length and type of sentence, any possible treatment options, and more. No matter where they are in the process, if they’ve been accused of a crime or have questions about how the law might apply to their situation, they should discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Lexington, KY-based Carman Law Firm. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, skilled representation. Call today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out this this convenient online form for a free initial consultation.