Studies show drugs and alcohol are more accessible to teens than ever before, even while at school. It is general knowledge where they can be bought and there is often a known location either on or near campus where students go to take them. While summer tends to bring the highest level of drug use among students, going back to school also presents ample opportunity. Peer pressure and group dynamics have made drug use popular to not only troubled teens, but all teens. Here’s what to look for to know if your teen is using drugs.
Teen Drug Abuse Symptoms
Parents remain the best deterrent to teen drug abuse, so it is vitally important that you nurture a strong relationship with your children. Know them well and they will benefit from it, but you will also be able to more easily see changes in them that could indicate drug use. Here are some common behaviors to be aware of:
- A sudden, drastic reduction in grades.
- Eyes that are always bloodshot.
- Poor hygiene and a sudden change in their style.
- No interest in previous activities.
- Avoiding eye contact/Keeping everything secret.
- Arriving home after curfew often.
Your best first defense is to speak frequently to your children of the facts about drugs, consequences of addiction, and how to make better choices. Communicate clearly to them that drug use is absolutely unacceptable. Be strong with boundaries and consistent with consequences when they cross the boundaries you set. Become involved with their schools to set stronger boundaries and tougher consequences as well. Speak to them with compassion, not judgement, and learn to be an active listener, unafraid to enter into their world. Be careful with your reactions so future discussion remains open. Always be honest about what you know and don’t know.
If You Suspect Drug Use
Don’t be afraid to talk to your teenager if you suspect he or she is using drugs. Many parents never intervene and teenagers develop addictions that affect them for life. A straightforward approach, when coupled with a compassionate, loving tone, works best. Ask them directly if they have been using drugs or alcohol. Remember, though, your goal is to start a conversation, not to react to information.
If your teenager admits to using drugs, don’t overreact. The worst thing you could do is close them up to further discussion. If they feel safe talking to you about it, there is a better chance they will continue talking to you about it. Communicate how much you love and care about them. Your support could be the catalyst to them quitting drug use or seeking help with an addiction.
If you suspect your teenager is using drugs but he or she denies it, you may seek the help of a professional. You could talk to your pediatrician, a therapist, or even an addiction specialist to help you diagnose a drug problem. At the end of the day, your love, care, and steady support is the best chance they have to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
You are Not Alone
It is common to feel like you’re the only parent dealing with an adolescent using drugs, but it is actually very prevalent. The ease of accessibility of drugs and alcohol and the effect of social media has made drug use popular with all types of teenagers. You don’t have to face this alone. Sober Houston partners with organizations who provide drug and alcohol education, counseling services, rehab and sober living facilities. Contact Us for more information on adolescent treatment or other options for your son or daughter.