The radio station I listen to has a thing called “Moral Dilemma”. Each morning they read out a listener’s problem and then briefly discuss it before taking calls from other listeners to hear other opinions.
This morning’s dilemma was written by a mother of an 18 year old boy who had broken up with his girlfriend three or four weeks ago. The young couple had been seeing each other for about a year and the families had gotten close. The girl had broken off the relationship, but the pair still hung out in the same social group and continued to be friends. The dilemma: The boy came home one night and told his mother that he had seen the girl take an ecstasy tablet. He was worried about her, but he didn’t want his mother to act on the information. She wasn’t sure what she should do, because she had been told something in confidence, but knew the girl’s parents should be told.
I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this situation.
Sometimes confidences have to be broken. If someone tells you they are thinking of killing themselves, you must tell someone. A life is in your hands and you cannot ignore that fact. If someone tells you they know someone who has started to take drugs, then you should tell someone. Maybe a life isn’t threatened in the same way as the first confidence, but in a way that life could well be permanently affected…for the worse and drugs do kill!
It’s not up to the mother in the dilemma mentioned above to make a choice; it’s up to the parents of the girl. They should be told so that they can do whatever they feel is right for their daughter. If the mother of the boy were to say nothing and something happened to the girl because of the drugs, then guilt would land squarely on her shoulders.
I realise that she doesn’t want to lose the trust of her son either. This is probably the biggest thing holding her back. She should sit down with him and explain her concerns. The son won’t like what she has to say, but if he really cares for the girl, he’ll see that his mother is right and they should tell the girl’s parents.
The reason I feel this way is because drugs change a person; it clouds their judgement and makes them think differently. Drugs can take a confident, healthy person and turn them into someone who is paranoid and unsure. Although I didn’t know what I was witnessing at the time, I saw the affects ecstasy had on my son. If someone had told me that Barry was taking the drug, I might have been more aware of the other trouble signs in his life. It might have made a difference.
Don’t play around with important issues. If you are told something in confidence and you are losing sleep over it at night, then deep down you know you have to do something and that usually means telling someone who can help. This is true in regards to suicide threats, drugs and abuse. Don’t keep it a secret. You might save a life…and I don’t necessarily mean from death either.