Parents of the kids I work with want to know signs of drug use – this is what I tell them:

teen alcohol 12 2 14By Dee Marsh
While teen use of alcohol and drugs is nothing new, drug use and terms have changed dramatically over time. Sitting around being groovy and toking on reefers is so last century.  Today’s teens have a lot of access to information on other ways to get high.

Parents of teens I work with often ask what signs they should look for that would indicate their son or daughter is abusing drugs.  Here is a list of some signs that might indicate your son or daughter is experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

My son or daughter . . . .
… has gone from being a nice kid to being mean and angry all the time
…is wearing all black or has become sloppy in their attire
…has become apathetic and disinterested in life
…frequently has red eyes or carries eye drops
…finds reason to use cleaning supplies or smells like chemicals
…has a lot of cold medications in room or in backpack
…has other strange household items in room or backpack along with nifty little gadgets
…it seems like our prescription medications are being used faster than they should be
…has close friends that I suspect are abusing substances
…looks thinner, but denies losing weight
…is eating us out of house and home after a night with friends
…has become more secretive
…has switched friends
…may be taking alcohol or cash from family members
…has started getting into trouble at school.
…has dropped their grades
…has extra money, but no job
…has been isolating themselves lately from friends and family.

The most important thing you can do if you suspect your son or daughter may be experimenting with drugs is to talk with them.  Let them know that you are paying attention to what they are doing.  Be clear with them on what your expectations are for them. Remember to communicate your love and concern for them during this time of experimentation.

If you suspect they need help to quit, be proactive.  The earlier help is started, the better the outcome.  Alcohol and drug addiction is considered a medical disease and treatment is available.  FCS Counseling can provide an assessment to determine if treatment is indicated.  Other agencies can as well.  Be the advocate your son or daughter needs to get help.

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