Giving up doesn’t have to be an option. There is always a way.
It is important to keep in mind that if a child shows any of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using drugs. The presence of some of these behaviours could be the product of adolescent stress. Others may be symptoms of depression or a host of other problems. Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if they occur in a cluster. A mental health professional or a caring and concerned adult may help a youngster successfully overcome a crisis and develop more effective coping skills, often preventing further problems.
The key is change; it is important to watch for any significant changes in your child’s physical appearance, personality, attitude or behaviour.
- Loss of appetite, increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain.
- Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
- Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
- Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
- Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
- Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
- Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
- Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
- Runny nose; hacking cough.
- Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
- Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
- Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
- Changes in friends; new hang-outs; sudden avoidance of old crowd; doesn’t want to talk about new friends; friends are known drug users.
- Change in activities or hobbies.
- Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
- Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
- Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
- General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, “I don’t care” attitude.
- Sudden over-sensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behaviour.
- Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
- Silliness or giddiness.
- Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
- Secretive or suspicious behaviour.
- Car accidents.
- Chronic dishonesty.
- Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.
- Change in personal grooming habits.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Glassy, red eyes; loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; a sweet burnt scent; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.
Clumsiness; difficulty walking; slurred speech; sleepiness; poor judgement; dilated pupils; possession of a false ID card.
(Glues, aerosols, and vapours) 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; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; an unusual number of spray cans in the trash.
(Including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol but without the associated odour of alcohol; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgement; slurred speech; sleepiness; contracted pupils.
Needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing and sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite; contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light.
Hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; dilated pupils; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.
Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behaviour including paranoia, aggression, and hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.
Poor performance at work or school, suspicious or secretive behaviour, mood swings, unusual hyperactivity, lack of motivation, paranoia, deterioration in physical appearance, slurred speech, impaired coordination, isolation from family and old friends, stealing or borrowing money, wearing long sleeves or long pants to hide needle marks.