Recognizing Drug Usage in Your Children


Do you ever worry about your child possibly being involved in using drugs? Do you know some of the indicators that might tip you off about this? In my experience, wondering about your child as they begin to mature can be a nightmare. How does one explain some of the behaviors seen in these youth? Simply asking your son or daughter is usually met with a resounding “No”, or, “How could you think such a thing”, or “No, of course not”. Let me be the first to tell you these individuals are less than honest the majority of the time (when they are using). But take heart. There are observable behaviors and other ways that can provide you with useful information regarding possible drug/alcohol use in your child. First, let me just briefly touch on marijuana. Legality in certain states does not say anything at all about its safety or effects. It is an addicting drug that may produce dependence and a predictable withdrawal syndrome. Its effects on the brain may reflect changes that are detrimental to the developing brain and include drop in IQ, decreased ability to learn new information, recall information, to name a few of the problems. The best we can probably do is educating our children in health and goals that reflect the need for a clear head that can function to its potential. On to the topic at hand! Some of the ways in which drug use is suggested include the following:

  • Changes in attitude toward others, parents, friends
  • Mood swings such as outbursts of anger, periods of euphoria (lasting hours usually)
  • Decreased interest in school with an overall decline in grades
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changing set of friends and not for the better
  • Violation of house rules such as coming home late, not complying with usual household duties
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Secretive, dishonest, defiant behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Alcohol on breath
  • Unexplained moodiness
  • Lack of respect toward others
  • Secretive about social plans, whereabouts

Certain of these changes can be seen as a result of normal adolescent development, but when there are marked CHANGES seen on a consistent basis, and progress is going downhill over time, it’s worth giving thought to the possibility of dug/alcohol use, not just occasionally as often seen in kids but on a more frequent basis and in inappropriate ways, such as going out on a school night, coming home late in violation of parental instruction and defensive about details. For more information, go a step further and check it out with a professional and come in for an appointment to help sort the issues out.