Teen drug use is a major problem in our communities today. Teens are curious about drugs and face enormous peer pressure. They want to do whatever is necessary to fit in with the crowd at school. They may feel that using drugs or alcohol helps them to be more outgoing and not as inhibited. There are any number of reasons for teen drug use. That’s why you have to be able to spot the symptoms in your child.
Drug use causes changes in anyone, even a teen, but some signs are more subtle than others. While you may notice some immediate changes in temperament and physical signs of intoxication, some signs develop slowly over time and are more difficult to spot. Here are a few signs your teen may be headed for trouble and in need of your intervention.
She won’t tell you much about where she is going: If your normally forthcoming teen is suddenly very quiet about the details and won’t say where she’s been, it could be a sign of trouble. If you ask what your teen is doing and when they’ll be home, they should be able to share some verifiable details. If they keep disappearing for long periods of time and come home and go right to their rooms, they could have been out partying.
He’s always broke: Teens as a group don’t have much money, but asking for money all the time, borrowing from siblings or other family members could be a sign of drug problems. Some teens are cagey when it comes to money requests; they may tell you they need money for food at school, or that it’s something they need but then they have nothing to show for it. Also, beware of teens stealing money from you; track where your money is going and make sure you aren’t missing funds.
She has a lot of money but no job. Teens sometimes will sell drugs so they can support their habit. If you see a lot of baggies in their room or they’re just always out and about buying things and there’s no job in place, you need to know where the money is coming from.
He won’t go work at jobs that require a urine test. If you’ve been trying to get your teen to get a job and he keeps avoiding it saying that the job isn’t right or avoids employers who test, there could be a reason. Unexplained termination from a job may have some implications as well since some employers do ‘on the job’ drug testing.
She has wild mood swings: Teens have rapidly cycling emotions, but you should have a good idea of how they act most of the time. If you notice that they are a lot more sullen, excited, or have any extreme emotional changes, it could be drugs. Stimulant drugs make people not want to sleep – and seem very happy for days at a time. Depressants can make someone sleep for a long time and have related crankiness or sullenness.
Watching your teen carefully for the signs above could help you spot the symptoms of drug use early; early detection could help ward off some of the problems that come with long-term drug abuse. The earlier you spot the teen drug use signs, the faster you can intervene and get your child into treatment.