Jan 11

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While it is difficult to distingish typical adolescent behavior from drug-induced behavior, parents should consdier possible drug use if they notice several of these changes in their child:

1. Changes in Physical Appearance -

  • Lack of personal cleanliness, messy appearance
  • Red eyes and frequent use of eye drops
  • Runny nose, congestion, coughing
  • Wearing dark glasses when not necessary
  • Pale face, circles under eyes

2. Changes in Eating and Sleeping Habits -

  • Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia
  • Inappropriate napping
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Poor appetite
  • A sudden appetite (especially for sweets)

3. Changes in Behavior and Personality -

  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Hostility, defiance of rules
  • Depression, “I don’t care” attitude
  • Lack of responsibility: not doing chores, homework; forgetting family occasions
  • Blaming, lying, making excuses
  • Loss of memory, shortened attention span, disordered thought patterns
  • Withdrawal from family, isolation, secretiveness

4. Changes in School or Job Performance -

  • Lowered grades, neglected homework
  • Frequent tardiness and absenteeism
  • Falling asleep in class
  • Discipline problems
  • Quitting or getting fired from job

5. Physical Evidence of Drug Use -

  • Liquor in the home missing or watered down
  • Fake ID
  • Mouth wash, breath sprays
  • Visine or other eye drops
  • Roach clips, rolling papers
  • Bongs, pipes and small screens
  • Baggies containing dried leaves, seeds
  • “Stash cans”, often disguised as cola or beer cans
  • Burning incense, room deodorizers
  • Prescription medication disappearing
  • Any drugs or drug paraphenalia you find on your child or in your home are indications of drug use, even if he or she insists they “belong to a friend”.

6. Changes in Friends and Interests -

  • New or different friends, especially ones who use drugs
  • Friends rarely introduced and seldom come to the house
  • More time spent in room or away from home
  • Secrecy about actions and possessions
  • Hobbies, sports or extra-curricular activities are given up; everything is “boring”
  • Stays out past curfew

7. Positive Attitudes Towards Drugs and Alcohol -

  • Pro-drug messages on posters or clothing
  • Strong defense of the occasional use of drugs by peers, thinks adults “hassle” kids
  • Easily angered when confronted about chemical use
  • Concern expressed by others over his/her use of alcohol or other drugs


This information was copied from the Riverhaven Substance Abuse Coordinating Agency 2011 calendar.

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