What are some signs of teen drug use?

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Answered by: Abigail Smith, An Expert in the Drug Use Among Teenagers Category
Discovering whether or not your teen is using drugs is not easy. Often times what you believe could be signs of drug abuse, ends up being typical adolescent behavior. You can’t bluntly ask him/her if he/she is using for fear of being lied to or hated, but letting it go isn’t an option either. There are some signs that are more obvious than others.



Some signs of drug use can be noticed just from physical appearance. If your teen usually maintains a healthy personal hygiene, but seems to be lacking lately, it could be a sign of drug use. Sometimes it can be as simple as just not dressing up as often or not wearing makeup. Other times it can go as far as going days or weeks without bathing or brushing their hair. Burns on the finger tips could be caused from marijuana cigarettes burning down as they are smoking them.

Some teens that start using drugs develop personal habits or actions that they didn’t have or do before they began using. Some examples of this could be clenching teeth or a change in their appetite. Your teen could be using a lot more perfume or cologne to cover up the smell of the drugs they are using. Some chew gum or eat mints excessively to keep people from smelling it on their clothes or breath.



Teenagers who use drugs may also develop behavior problems. If they suffered with behavioral issues before they started using, the problem will eventually become worse and more intense. The teens will start deliberately breaking rules, especially curfews. If your teen is acting very secretive or experiencing cash flow problems, it could be signs of drug abuse. Lying, or a change in the adolescent’s friend group could be a warning sign as well. Truancy, lack of motivation, and mood changes are also things to look for.

Drugs affect every teen’s sleep differently based on the type of drug they are abusing. Some can make them very drowsy and they sleep more often. Some drugs can keep them awake for days and even give them more energy than they had sober. Nose bleeds, sores, and seizures are some health issues related to drug abuse. Vomiting, excessive thirst and weight gain/loss are also tied to addiction.

Sometimes there will be signs of drug use in the home or your teen’s car is he/she drives. This could be disappearing alcohol or cigarettes, losing money or finding containers that have a distinctive smell. If you know your child isn’t smoking cigarettes, finding lighters or papers to roll cigarettes in their car should raise suspicion. Foil, toilet paper rolls and dryer sheets can all be used to hide the smell of drugs when smoked.

If you noticed any of the symptoms in your teen, ask them. Talk to them about if they have ever been offered drugs. If they say yes, ask them how they handled it. Not all teens will fess up to using drugs or alcohol. Always reassure your child that you are on their side and just want what is best for them. Depending on how your child reacts if you do ask them about their drug use, it may be a good idea to team up with professionals. They could need to be evaluated or just someone to talk to.

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