Parents in Georgia and elsewhere who are concerned that their teens may have a substance abuse problem are encouraged to seek help as quickly as possible. Teens who drink alcohol may have sudden mood changes, hang out with new friends or generally stop caring about their appearance. Other signs of substance abuse may include smelling alcohol on a child’s breath or discovering alcohol in a child’s backpack.
The presence of bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and confusion may also indicate that a teen has used alcohol. It is important that parents do not blame themselves or their children for what has happened. Instead, they should reach out to their child’s primary care physician, a school counselor or a trusted family member for help. If a parent works for a company that has an employee assistance program, it may be possible to use it to get help for a son or daughter.
It’s not uncommon for school districts to have substance abuse programs or other ways to help a teenager overcome mental health or addiction issues. A local health department may also offer resources to those who are trying to get mental health or other services for their child. At a minimum, a department representative may provide more information about programs designed to help teens with substance abuse issues.
Teens who are charged with offenses related to underage drinking may face a variety of penalties if convicted. These penalties may include jail time, a loss of driving privileges and probation. Those who are convicted of violating underage alcohol consumption laws may also be required to participate in a rehab program. An attorney may be able to get a charge dropped by asserting that a defendant didn’t intend to consume alcohol or that it was consumed for religious purposes.