A 13-YEAR-OLD Caloundra boy who was introduced to cannabis through friends at his new school soon became a reputed drug dealer.
His mum, who asked to remain anonymous, said his drug problem had started when they moved to Australia in 2010. Her son suffered from anxiety and believed cannabis "helped him cope".
"He enjoyed the feeling," she said.
But while he felt calm and relaxed, his mum said it changed his personality and he became aggressive towards her and her husband.
"He got in over his head with peer pressure, got a reputation for being a drug dealer," she said.
"But it was a front. It only got him in trouble.
"His school work suffered.
"He got suspended three times last year."
After years of despair, the mum said she had grown increasingly worried about her son.
"I thought he wouldn't make it to his 17th birthday," she said. "We tried a counsellor, psychiatrist, doctors, mental-health experts - everything we could, but we were told it had to be his decision to give it up."
One night in November last year was the final straw, when the son became violent towards his dad.
"We couldn't live like that," the mum said.
"We asked him to leave."
Since that day, her son has been drug-free and the family attends Toughlove Parent Support Group meetings in Nambour each week.
The mum said adolescent drug use was more common than people realised.
"They go to school with drugs and give it to the other children," she said.
During Drug Action Week (June 16-22), Toughlove Queensland calls on parents to get the help to address difficult problems for their children and themselves.
The Sunshine Coast group is made up of parents from the community and helps other parents experiencing problems with their teens' behaviour.
The group deals with behavioural concerns but topping the list is drug or alcohol abuse by young people.
A parent's actions can make a real difference in their child's life and the choices they make.
The group meets weekly at Solutions 4 Learning at 22 National Park Rd, Nambour.
Call 38563211 or email email@example.com.
Drug Arm 54762853
Toughlove Sunshine Coast 38563211
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