It’s a concern for every parent, especially when children turn into teenagers: will your child abuse drugs? Teenagers can be protective about keeping their personal lives private, so parents need to be aware of the warning signs of drug use.

5 Warning Signs of Drug Abuse:

  • Physical changes, such as bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, frequent nosebleeds or deterioration of physical grooming or appearance
  • Behavioral Signs, such as changes in sleep patterns, decline in school performance, loss of interest in hobbies, and social withdrawal
  • Psychological signs, such as sudden moodiness or sudden giddiness, extreme fear or anxiety, appearing lethargic or “out of it,” or any other unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Relationship signs, such as complaints from teachers or friends, sudden arguments erupting over values or beliefs of the family, or sudden changes in friends or hangouts
  • Home indicators such as missing money or valuables around the home, strange smells in the home or excessive use of perfumes or incense (possibly to hide other scents)

Tips for How to Respond if Your Child is Using Drugs:

  • Attempt to start an honest conversation with your child about the issue. If he or she feels like you will not judge or be harsh, the child may open up and admit to the problem. However, think twice before starting such a conversation if you suspect your child is high or drunk at the moment, or if you having feelings of anger or feel unprepared.
  • If you have suspicions that your child may be using drugs but are not sure, take the time to observe and track behaviors or even search for drug paraphernalia in the home to check your suspicions before confronting your child. You want your child to understand that this behaviour is wrong, but you don’t want to ostracise them and potentially worsen the problem. You can explore further online for treatment options that can support them in a positive way, rather than demonising them and pushing them away.
  • If your suspicions are confirmed, and your child does not respond to an open conversation, it may be necessary to stage a formal intervention and seek help from a drug rehab center.

All parents need to be aware of and on the lookout for signs that their children may be using drugs. Drug and alcohol use can be signs of other issues, such as depression or low self-esteem, and can lead to addition, so it’s best not to try to ignore the problem. Approach your child with love and tenderness, and let your child know that you will always be there to help.