SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRUG USE
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 behaviors 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 behavior.
appetite, increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits,
unexplained weight loss or gain.
staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
palms; shaking hands.
blushing or paleness.
substance on breath, body or clothes.
hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
vomiting or excessive sweating.
shakes of hands, feet or head.
overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
friends; new hang-outs; sudden avoidance of old crowd; doesn't want to
talk about new friends; friends are known drug users.
activities or hobbies.
Drop in grades
at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
paying attention; forgetfulness.
of motivation, energy, self-esteem, "I don't care" attitude.
oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
irritability, or nervousness.
for privacy; unreachable.
need for money, stealing money or items.
personal grooming habits.
Drug Specific Symptoms:
Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking and inappropriate laughter
followed by sleepiness; a sweet burnt scent; loss of interest, motivation;
weight gain or loss.
Alcohol: Clumsiness; difficulty walking; slurred speech; sleepiness; poor
judgment; dilated pupils; possession of a false ID card.
Depressants: (including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if
from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol; difficulty
concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness; and
Stimulants: 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.
Inhalants: (Glues, aerosols, and 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; poor muscle
control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; an unusual number of spray
cans in the trash.
Hallucinogens: 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: Needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting;
coughing and sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite; contracted pupils; no
response of pupils to light.
Tobacco/Nicotine: Smell of tobacco; stained fingers or teeth.
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