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Swan is a 14-year-old student at the Sea-Cow School for the Performing Arts. Her goal in life is to be a world-acclaimed ballet dancer. She has been dancing ever since she was 4 years old, when her parents enrolled her in a Ballet for Tots program. Swan’s parents have always encouraged her to pursue her dream of dancing professionally. As a young girl, Swan had the perfect body for a ballet dancer, slim and flexible. Within the last year, Swan has become concerned that she is gaining weight. She heard from friends that smoking cigarettes could help her stay thin, although she didn’t exactly know why. Swan became desperate to control her weight and started borrowing cigarettes from friends. Eventually, she was smoking almost a pack of cigarettes a day and felt edgy and irritable if she went without smoking for more than a few hours. She thought about trying diet pills or even barbiturates to avoid the smell of the cigarette smoke.
Swan’s parents have approached you, the school counselor, because they found rolling papers in her room. Although Swan denies using any other drugs, her parents are convinced that she has been smoking marijuana. How would you approach this case? Do you think Swan is at risk for addiction? What questions would you ask Swan and/or her parents? What recommendations would you make?