How to Know if a Teen is Using Drugs

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Parents snooping on their children is not a new phenomenon. According to some parents, they have the right to know everything their child is up to, especially if the children are living under their roof. If a parent is concerned that their teen is on drugs, then they definitely have the right to know. But how are the parents supposed to find out?

Signs of Drug Abuse

If parents are concerned that their teen is using drugs, then there are some warning signs they can look out for. The signs of drug abuse can be physical, behavioral or psychological.

Physical Signs

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Seizures without a prior medical history
  • Deterioration in personal grooming
  • Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech

Behvioral Signs

  • Skipping class and a decline in grades
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities and sports
  • Complaints from teachers
  • Missing money, valuables, or prescription drugs
  • Isolated behavior, being withdrawn
  • Demanding more privacy, locking doors and avoiding eye contact.
  • Sudden change in relationships with friends
  • Frequently getting into trouble and arguing and home

Psychological Signs

  • Inexplicable changes in personality
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Appearing demotivated
  • Appearing anxious or paranoid for no reason

What to Do When Drugs are Found

What should parents do if they find drugs belonging to their teen? As a first step, the parent who found them should discuss the situation with their spouse or partner, rather than confronting their teen. This should also give the parent some time to handle any feelings of anger and disappointment, before formulating a plan, instead of just reacting.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of any drugs or drug paraphernalia that the parent finds, for evidence so that the teen can’t deny it. The parent should make sure that they put the drugs back just as they found them, so the teen doesn’t find out that the parent knows,  and it gives the parent time to come up with solutions.

An intervention is the most effective way to deal with the teen’s drug use. The parents can contact an intervention specialist, who can guide them on how to conduct a session. This is much better than a confrontation, and will give the parents an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with their teen about their parents’ feelings and how the drug use can affect the family.

Lead Recovery provides a specialized living environment for young men to support their transition into a healthy lifestyle. Contact us to find out more about our individualized programs.