Indications of drug use

Posted on November 15, 2017 · Posted in Culture, Parenting, Teenagers

Proverbs 18:15 teaches that the ears of the wise search for knowledge. The message is that not everything that you need to know as a parent will be handed to you wrapped in a bright warning label that says “Danger, check this out.” Sometimes the warning signs are subtle. They can easily get lost in hectic pace of life. Teenagers just getting started with drug abuse often fit into this category.

Drugs are readily available today, sometimes teenagers need only your own medicine cabinet to get started. If you find any indication of drug use, don’t hesitate, get whatever help is needed as quickly as possible!

I have asked my good friend and fellow elder, Richie Batson, to provide some things that parents can look for to catch the early stages of drug activity. Richie is a pharmacist who is well qualified to address this concern. Following is what he compiled to answer my question.

Warning signs of teen drug abuse

Early drug use is a serious concern and may lead to abuse and addiction. Parents should be aware of common indicators of illicit use and abuse. In order for parents to recognize these indicators, you need to pay attention and have close levels of interaction with you teenagers.

Signs to look for:

  • Having bloodshot eyes or dilated/contracted pupils; using eye drops to try to mask these signs.
  • Skipping class; declining grades; suddenly getting into trouble at school.
  • Missing money, valuables, or prescriptions.
  • Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry, or depressed.
  • Dropping one group of friends for another; being secretive about the new peer group.
  • Loss of interest in old hobbies; lying about new interests and activities.
  • Demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around.

Warning Signs of Commonly Abused Drugs

  • Marijuana
    • Glassy, red eyes
    • Loud talking
    • Inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness
    • Loss of interest or motivation
    • Weight gain or loss
  • Depressants (including Oxycontin, Lortab/Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, GHB)
    • Contracted pupils
    • Drunk-like
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Clumsiness
    • Poor judgment
    • Slurred speech
    • Sleepiness
  • Stimulants (including amphetamines, cocaine, crystal meth)
    • Dilated pupils
    • Hyperactivity
    • Euphoria
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Mood swings
    • Excessive talking followed by depression
    • Excessive sleeping at odd times
    • May go long periods of time without eating or sleeping
    • Weight loss
    • Dry mouth and nose
  • Inhalants (glues, aerosols, vapors)
    • Watery eyes
    • Impaired vision, memory and thought
    • Secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth
    • Headaches and nausea
    • Appearance of intoxication
    • Drowsiness
    • Ppoor muscle control
    • Changes in appetite
    • Anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Lots of cans/aerosols in the trash
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP)
    • Dilated pupils
    • Bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations
    • Mood swings
    • Detachment from people
    • Absorption with self or other objects
    • Slurred speech
    • Confusion.
  • Heroin
    • Contracted pupils
    • No response of pupils to light
    • Needle marks
    • Sleeping at unusual times
    • Sweating
    • Vomiting
    • Coughing, sniffling
    • Twitching
    • Loss of appetite.

Spend time with your children, don’t assume they will be safe. Your enemy is counting on you being complacent. Do what it takes to get involved!

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.