If you are a parent who suspects that your teen is using substances, there are some tell-tale signs that you should be aware of. Chances are that you will notice physical changes in your teen along with other signs of substance use.
Some of these signs of teenage substance abuse include:
- Sudden changes in weight (either losing or gaining weight)
- Pupils either larger or smaller than normal
- Dry eyes
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Strange odors on clothing or breath
- Sniffing or runny nose
- A decrease in personal grooming
- Slurred speech or poor coordination
You may also notice a change in your teen’s personality or attitude. They may display a lack of motivation or periods of high energy and nervousness.
In addition to these signs of substance abuse, you may find drug paraphernalia in the teen’s room or hidden otherwise in the house. Drug paraphernalia can be items used to ingest the drug of choice such as lighters for smoking marijuana along with glass or metal pipes or bongs. It could be small mirrors, razor blades, and rolled-up dollar bills or straws used for snorting drugs. And of course, the worst would be items used for injecting drugs such as syringes, spoons, cotton balls, and a rubber cord.
How Easily can Substances of Abuse Be to Access in Your Home?
Do you have a liquor cabinet in your home? Do you have beer and wine in the refrigerator? And do you have prescription medications in a medicine cabinet in your home? If these answers are “yes,” all of these items can contribute to teenage substance abuse. Teens are known to sneak alcohol from the cabinet, beer from the fridge, and pills from the medicine cabinet.
If you have these substances in your home, you would be wise to keep them under lock and key. If you can’t do that, make sure you keep an inventory of the items so that you can tell if they are disappearing without your knowledge.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
“Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.”
Teens and young adults have a way of thinking that they are bulletproof. In other words, they think that bad things won’t happen to them. They always happen to others. However, this is not the reality of underage drinking or other substance abuse.
There are many consequences to underage drinking as well as drinking at any age. A teen who abuses alcohol struggles with problems at school such as failing grades as well as social problems with other students. Underage drinking can cause such issues as driving under the influence and injuring innocent victims or worse. This, in turn, can lead to legal problems that can follow teens throughout their adult lives.
Teens who abuse alcohol can face unwanted and unplanned sexual activity causing sexually transmitted diseases in addition to pregnancies. And of course, there is the risk of physical or sexual assault. The majority of teens who drink alcohol also participate in binge drinking (drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time) which can result in death from alcohol poisoning.