10 Ways To Tell If Your Teen Is On Drugs
Discovering that your teen is using drugs can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Over 60 percent of teens report that drugs of some kind are kept, sold, and used at their school, 64 percent of teens say they have used prescription pain killers that they got from a friend or family member, and 28 percent of teens know at least one person who has tried ecstasy. If you suspect that your teen is on drugs, here are some things to consider…
The first thing you should do before talking to your teen is think about how you will respond if they actually admit it. Cursing them out, screaming, and running away to sob are not effective. You should be allowed to express how you truly feel but just not around your child. This is when they may need you the most. This is not the time for them to feel even more low or judged. They need your support, understanding, and help/solutions.
There is no easy way to bring up this topic. You may want to bring it up in a relaxed setting where you’ve ordered pizza for a movie night and it’s just the two of you. You should always start out letting them know you love them and that’s no ones perfect including you. Just let them know you have some concerns and ask them straight out in a calm way. This could go smooth or it could go south very fast but being direct is better than beating around the bush or snooping around trying to guess.
The signs of a teen drug user can sometimes be very similar to typical teen behavior and it can be hard to tell. But you know your child better than anyone so these signs below mixed with your instinct should help reveal the truth.
- Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Red, flushed cheeks or face
- Track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks)
- Burns or soot on fingers or lips (from “joints” or “roaches” burning down)
- Clenching teeth
- Smell of smoke or other unusual smells on breath or on clothes
- Chewing gum or mints to cover up breathe
- Heavy use of over-the-counter preparations to reduce eye reddening, nasal irritation, or bad breathe
- Frequently breaks curfew
- Change in relationships with family members or friends
- Loss of inhibitions
- Mood changes or emotional instability
- Loud, obnoxious behavior
- Laughing at nothing
IF NO, NOW WHAT?
If they tell you no but you still think they are then talk to the pediatrician or a psychologist about it and set up an appointment to let them give you their assessment. Teaming up with a professional may be your best bet to finding out the truth. They are trained to suspect a change in their body or odd behavior.
IF YES, NOW WHAT?
There are many teens that will continuously deny their drug use but if they do admit it then that’s the first baby step needed for getting help. Seeking help takes a lot of courage but there is a vast amount of supportive resources out there. The first thing you should do is see if your child’s doctor is comfortable screening for drug use or if hey can make a referral. Then see if they can recommend an addiction specialty doctor or center.