Substance Abuse Warning Signs

Substance Abuse Warning Signs

There are many warning signs of drug use and abuse in teenagers. The challenge for parents is to distinguish between the normal, sometimes volatile, ups and downs of the teen years and the red flags of substance abuse. Here are some things to pay attention to:

Signs in the Home

  • Loss of interest in family activities
  • Sudden increase or decrease in appetite
  • Disappearance of valuable items or money
  • Not coming home on time or not telling you where they are going
  • Lying
  • Finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, small glass vials, plastic baggies, remnants of drugs (seeds, etc.)

Signs at School

  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Truancy or always being late to school
  • Poor attitude toward sports or other previously enjoyed activities
  • Reduced memory and attention span
  • Change in friends

Physical and Emotional Signs

  • Extreme mood swings that do not fit the situation
  • Smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body
  • Overly tired or hyperactive
  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • Unhappy and depressed
  • Always needs money, or has excessive amounts of money
  • Sloppiness in appearance