How do I know if my teen is using drugs?
Real Mom Problem
“The last two nights, my 13-year-old stepdaughter has come home with red and puffy eyes with dilated pupils. I know the eyes are a sign of possible drug use. She has been very quiet at dinner and last night seemed to have trouble focusing.”
- 1. Keep an eye out for sudden changes in mood or behavior and secrecy
- 2. Be aware of who your teen is associating with, and listen to their conversations
- 3. Talk to your teen's teachers or doctor if you have concerns about possible drug use
Real Mom Solutions
Do you suspect that your teen is using drugs? Read on for drug detection tips from other moms.
Look for Signs of Drug Use
Sleeping all day is a huge warning sign.
Signs of marijuana use include red eyes, glossy eyes (or sudden habit of keeping eye drops), silliness, laziness, and the munchies.
Signs of amphetamine (meth) include dilated pupils, excess energy, sleeplessness (staying up sometimes all night), weight loss, not eating, twitches or repetitive motions like teeth grinding, or sleeping for days at a time, eating everything in sight, and irritability when coming down.
Cocaine use would be similar to meth, but not as intense and can include paranoia.
Pain killers (oxycodone/morphine) or heroin cause very small pupils, sometimes profuse sweating, cycles of activity and preference for isolation, nodding out while talking, and sometimes slowed motor skills and slurred speech. But sometimes they can act perfectly normal.
I would suspect something was going on if they had a sudden, drastic change in mood, behavior, grades, etc.
Be Aware of All Drugs They Might Use
I would be concerned if you hear your child say they are going to "dip out to eat skittles." This means they are going to a prescription-drug party. They rarely call them pharm parties; they are very sneaky. Why do I know this? Because my teen is a drug addict. These kids are doing anything they get their hands on. For those of you who don't know drugs very well I am going to list off my son's drug chart what these drugs are: marijuana (I'm sure you have all heard of this one), air duster, muscle relaxers (Flexeril is very popular), mushrooms, acid (LSD), methamphetamine (speed, ice, crystal meth, meth), chronic (pot laced with cocaine), Vicodin, Percocet, hash, Ecstasy, cocaine (crack, smoking it), morning glory seeds, salvia, Xanax (also called Xanax bars very popular in school and with teens), Adderall, 2C-E, 2C-B, opium, Benadryl, Robitussin (also called robo tripping), morphine (next step up from heroin), DXM, OxyContin.
Be Extra Aware and Test Them
Go to the drug store and buy a home drug test. My son SWORE he wasn't smoking pot. Turns out he sure as heck was.
Know who their friends are, where they are hanging out, when they will be home and what they are doing. Let them hang out at your house with their friends so you can be extra sure, and if you suspect something, follow up on it. Don't chalk it up to "acting like a teen." Most teens do still have brains; if they are acting wrong it's because something IS wrong.
Also, be the driver any time you get a chance. A back seat full of teenagers will forget that mom is up there listening and will talk about all sorts of stuff!
Pay attention to what is going on in your teen's life and stay observant and aware.