How to know if my teen is using drugs

There are some signs to look for and maybe it even just comes down to a “gut” feeling.  Parents know their children well and if they have an inclination their teen is using drugs, they are probably on the right path. Below are a few things to look for on how to know if my teen is using drugs.

Early signs of drug use

Addiction is a progressive disease, and for many it starts at a very early age.  Addiction is a sneaky disease, meaning the addict will manipulate, lie and hide things to not be caught.  There are number of signs to look for ranging from Physical to Behavioural.

Physical Symptoms for substance use and/or abuse:

  • Watery or bloodshot eyes
  • Small pinpoint eyes (where the black of the idea is small like a pin point)
  • Large dilated pupils
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain (depending on the substance)
  • Puffy, swollen face
  • Sores on mouth
  • Headaches
  • Irritable
  • Paranoia/fidgeting
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Runny nose or nose bleeds
  • Poor hygiene – not caring about appearance
  • Challenge to stay focused or on task
  • Track marks or scars/scratches on arms or legs (will wear long sleeve clothing in warm weather to hide body parts where IV drug use is happening)

Behavioral Symptoms for substance use and/or abuse:

  • Making irresponsible choices
  • Stealing
  • lying
  • Always asking for money and having nothing to show for it
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Not following rules
  • Locking bedroom door
  • Very secretive
  • Isolating
  • Missing school or work
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities

Some of these symptoms may be present as teenagers are going through a lot of change and it may just be part of the process.  Also, many of these symptoms can represent a mental health issue, which majority of the times goes hand in hand with addiction or substance use.

Where can my teen and I find help for substance abuse?

If you are still wondering if there is a substance abuse issue, a great starting place is a consultation with a Professional Drug and Alcohol Interventionist and Counsellor.  Craig Fluter can assess the situation and determine next steps.  Please contact us directly at 1-888-438-9991 or email [email protected].