Know the Warning Signs of Teen Drug Use

Know the Warning Signs of Teen Drug Use

Drug use is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including increased
risk of serious drug use later in life, school failure, and poor judgment, which may put teens at risk for accidents, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide. Parents and educators can help through open communication and recognition of developing problems. 
Warning signs may include:

Physical Signs

• fatigue
• repeated health complaints
• red and glazed eyes
• lasting cough

Emotional Signs

• personality change
• sudden mood changes
• irritability
• low self-esteem
• poor judgment
• depression
• general lack of interest

Family-related Signs

• starting arguments
• negative attitude
• breaking rules
• withdrawing from family
• secretiveness

School-related Signs

• decreased interest
• negative attitude
• drop in grades
• many absences
• truancy
• discipline problems

Social Signs

• new friends who make poor decisions and are not interested in school or family activities
• problems with the law
• changes to less conventional styles in dress and music

Some of these warning signs may be indicators of other problems. Seeking professional help to rule out physical causes is a good fi rst step to address potential problems. 

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, July 2004 (updated). 
Facts for Families. Teens: Alcohol and Other Drugs, Washington, D.C.: AACAP.