Sue Scheff: Signs of Teen Drug Abuse


Please note that even though some of these warning signs of drug abuse may be present in your teen, it does not mean that they are definitely abusing drugs. There are other causes for some of these behaviors. Even the lifestage of adolescence is a valid reason for many of them to exist.
On the flip side of that, do not ignore the warning signs of teenage drug abuse. If six of these signs, (not all in the same category), are present for a period of time, you should talk to your teen and seek some professional help.

Signs in the Home

loss of interest in family activities
disrespect for family rules
withdrawal from responsibilities
verbally or physically abusive
sudden increase or decrease in appetite
disappearance of valuable items or money
not coming home on time
not telling you where they are going
constant excuses for behavior
spending a lot of time in their rooms
lies about activities
finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, small glass vials, plastic baggies, remnants of drugs (seeds, etc.)

Signs at School

sudden drop in grades
truancy
loss of interest in learning
sleeping in class
poor work performance
not doing homework
defiant of authority
poor attitude towards sports or other extracurricular activities
reduced memory and attention span
not informing you of teacher meetings, open houses, etc.
Physical and Emotional Signs


changes friends
smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body
unexplainable mood swings and behavior
negative, argumentative, paranoid or confused, destructive, anxious
over-reacts to criticism acts rebellious
sharing few if any of their personal problems
doesn't seem as happy as they used to be
overly tired or hyperactive
drastic weight loss or gain
unhappy and depressed
cheats, steals
always needs money, or has excessive amounts of money
sloppiness in appearance

Source: CDC.

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