5 Telltale Signs of Drug Use in Teens

Reading time: 3 minutes

Over the years, around 40% of teens have reported marijuana use, while the use of other substances lingers around 20% based on age group.

If you suspect that your child or teenager may be among this statistic, don’t lose hope. There are key indicators to look for before you decide your next move.

Read on for our top 5 signs of drug use in teens and what they mean.

1. Physical Signs of Drug Use in Teens

There are a number of physical signs of drug use in teens to look out for. You may notice they’ve changed in one way or another. Here are some of the most common signs to look out for:

  • Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils
  • Weight loss or weight gain/cellulite
  • Lack of hygiene or bad breath
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Skin problems or scabs

Chances are, you already know what drug abuse looks like. It can be difficult to see these signs appearing in your child. Don’t neglect your gut instinct if you think something’s up.

2. Emotional Changes and Mood Swings

Extreme changes in mood and emotions can be key signs of drug use in teens. If they are more emotional or rebellious than usual, chances are they could be running with the wrong crowd. Here are some telltale signs to look for:

  • Extremely emotional behavior and mood swings
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Increased anxiety or nervousness
  • Acting withdrawn or disinterested
  • Decreased interest in everyday activities

If you want to know how to tell if your child is using drugs, look for these indicators in their mood and mannerisms. It could be simple hormones, but it could also mean drug and alcohol abuse.

3. Behavioral Changes

How is your child or teenager behaving in social situations? Changes in social demeanor are major signs of drug use in teens. If your child or teen is acting below their usual social standards, it could be an indicator of teenage drug use.

You may be noticing that your child is acting below their usual standards. Watch out for the following signs of drug use in teens:

  • Noticeable decrease in grades
  • Skipping classes or extracurricular activities
  • Acting out or receiving increased disciplinary responses in school
  • Isolation or loss of interest in normal activities

If you are noticing these signs of drug use in teens, there are actions you can take. You may want to research details regarding different types of medication and therapy to incorporate into their life before it’s too late.

4. Money Problems

One of the major signs of drug use in teens is sudden issues with money. You may find them asking for money more often or you may even suspect theft in some cases.

If your child or teen has a sudden need for more money, or if you’re simply not sure where all the money you give them is going, these could be signs of a drug habit.

5. Hidden Possessions

If you’ve noticed all or most of the above signs of drug use in teens, it may be time to take other actions. You may want to search their room or their bags for paraphernalia and drugs.

It’s wise to save this as your last-ditch effort, but if you find drugs and paraphernalia in their possessions, this is a nearly guaranteed sign that your child or teen is using drugs. It may be time to confront them about it.

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your child or teenager is on drugs, it can be scary and you may not know what to do. If you watch out for these signs of drug use in teens, it can be easier to recognize a problem.

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