Consequences of Family Dysfunction and Substance Abuse


Discussion Question

Thelma, a 16 year old girl, suspected that her father had a
drug problem but never knew it for certain. One day, she found out from
some friends at school that her father used to buy crack cocaine from a
known dealer. She agonized for over a week about whether she should
tell her mother. She eventually did. Her mother asked Thelma’s father to
leave the house and filed for a divorce. Thelma felt that the breakup
of the family was her fault.

 Read the article on that discusses behavioral, medical, educational, and emotional consequences of family dysfunction and substance abuse.

 Read the following article
on Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse, paying particular attention to the Why
Some Teens Abuse Alcohol and Drugs and Prevention Strategies sections.

 Answer the following:

  • Did Thelma do the right thing by revealing her knowledge of her father’s drug use to her mother? Explain why.
  • What behavioral and emotional consequences might Thelma experience as a result of her situation?
  • What risk factors for teen substance abuse are present in Thelma’s life?
  • What practical action would you recommend for Thelma to
    fight against the guilt and anger she feels about the situation with her
  • What practical action would you recommend for Thelma’s mother to reduce Thelma’s risk for substance abuse?

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