There's an initialism you may have seen on the Internet: IANAL. It means I Am Not A Lawyer, and is added by commenters when they have offered their thoughts on a legal issue. Essentially, it means “Here's what I would do, but I'm not a lawyer, so you probably need to find a real lawyer to see if my advice is any good.”
Similarly, for this book I need a whole set of IANA_ disclaimers, and one IAA_ assertion:
IANAL — definitely true. I have had more contact with the legal system than I would ever have wanted, due to our family's struggles with drugs, but that is our experience, not yours. If you or your child have legal issues, there is only one good answer: find a lawyer you trust, that is competent, and listen to them.
IANAPsy — We have all gone through counseling at various times and in various ways, and my wife is a pastoral counselor, but that's our experience, not yours. The book contains multiple references to various mental and emotional conditions, and I've tried to be accurate in my treatment of those issues, but that doesn't mean you should use that section as a replacement for professional help. If you suspect you need a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, get one.
IANAD — Sometimes, drug use is an attempt to self-medicate. You can address the mental and emotional issues underlying the addiction or drug use, but if there is a physical issue you also need a good doctor, preferably one with some understanding of addiction.
IANASW — For certain drug-use situations, an experienced social worker with a strong network of relationships and an in-depth knowledge of resources and support systems can be a god-send. Your doctor, lawyer, or psychologist may know their area of expertise, but may be clueless about half-way houses, support groups, and AA/NA meetings. Find someone who knows the landscape where you live.
If you are reading this list and thinking “wow, we're going to need all those people?” — maybe not. Maybe you can be lucky, maybe you can catch it early, maybe you and your child can take action now and avoid years of struggle and pain.
But don't kid yourself — it's also possible that you and your child will need ALL of these resources, and more. Drug addiction is a multi-pronged opponent, and requires a multi-pronged approach. Start building your team: you're going to need them.
Finally, in case the above isn't clear enough, let me state this clearly:
Nothing in this book is meant to replace professional advice. If you use any part of this book to try to deal with your child, your child's drug use, the drug use of others, or for any other purpose, I am not responsible for the results. This book and all its content is offered with no guarantees of accuracy, efficacy, usefulness, or value. Read it and use it at your own risk.
So now you're probably thinking, “Great. With all the IANA_s up there, and the disclaimer, why should I even read this?” Fair question.
At the top, I said I was going to include one IAA_. Here it is: I Am A Parent. Nina and I have traveled a long journey, dealing with the drug use of one son and the impact on the other and on our family, and now we want to share what we have learned. If it helps you in some way, good. If it gives you hope, even better. And if it gives you hope, knowledge you didn't have before, and determination to fight to save your child and keep going, then we will have accomplished our goal.