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Warning Signs

Warning Signs of Teenage Drug Abuse

Please note that even though some of these warning signs of drug abuse may be present in your teen, it does not mean that they are definitely abusing drugs. There are other causes for some of these behaviors. Even the life stage of adolescence is a valid reason for many of them to exist. On the flip side of that, do not ignore the warning signs of teenage drug abuse. If six of these signs, (not all in the same category), are present for a period of time, you should talk to your teen and seek some professional help.

Signs in the Home

loss of interest in family activities

disrespect for family rules

withdrawal from responsibilities

verbally or physically abusive

sudden increase or decrease in appetite

disappearance of valuable items or money

not coming home on time

not telling you where they are going

constant excuses for behavior

spending a lot of time in their rooms

lies about activities

finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, small glass vials, plastic baggies, remnants of drugs (seeds, etc.)

Signs at School

sudden drop in grades


loss of interest in learning

sleeping in class

poor work performance

not doing homework

defiant of authority

poor attitude toward sports or other extracurricular activities

reduced memory and attention span

not informing you of teacher meetings, open houses, etc.

Physical and Emotional Signs

changes friends

smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body

unexplainable mood swings and behavior

negative, argumentative, paranoid or confused, destructive, anxious

over-reacts to criticism acts rebellious

sharing few if any of their personal problems

doesn't seem as happy as they used to be

overly tired or hyperactive

drastic weight loss or gain

unhappy and depressed

Sloppiness in appearance

cheats, steals

always needs money, or has excessive amounts of money



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