34 signs your teen is using drugs


Active Member
I ran across this and thought it would be helpful if I posted it.

34 WARNING Signs of Drug Use

If you are suspicious your child may be using drugs, don't ignore the warning signs. Children seldom grasp the concepts of addiction. Most view themselves as imperious to peril. For some teens, the stress of adolescence and pressure from their peers is overwhelming, and drugs become an enticing escape from their real world.

1. Neglected appearance/hygiene
2. Poor self image
3. Grades dropping
4. Violent outbursts at home
5. Frequent use of Eye Wash
6. Unexplained weight drop
7. Drug Paraphernalia
8. Slurred speech
9. Curfew violations
10. Running away
11. Skin abrasions
12. Hostility towards family members
13. Chemical breath
14.Glassy eyes
15.Red eyes
16.Valuables Missing
17. Possessing unexplained valuables
18. Stealing/borrowing money
19.Change in friends
20. Depression
21. Withdrawal
23.Reckless Behavior
24.No Concern about future
25. Defiles Family Values
26. Disrespectful to parents
27. Lying/Deception
28. Sneaky behavior
29. Disregards Consequences
30. Loss of Interest in healthy activities
31. Verbally abusive
32. Manipulative/Self-Centered
33. Lack of Motivation
34. Truancy


Active Member
Great list, and oh so true. After this is up for a while, I'll move it to our Teens Arhive Forum so we can refer others to it when they ask about signs.



scent of cedar

New Member
I agree that this should go in the archives. The thing is, many of these same signs can be (and often are) mistakenly assumed to be a child "acting out" to unresolved pressures in the family. That is what happened to us. If the professional you employ to help you with your child cannot label what it is the child is reacting to and give you concrete advice on how to address the problem, presume drug use.

We spent precious time trying to figure out where we had gone wrong as parents, when it was drug use all along.

No family is perfect, and every family has its dysfunctions ~ but it doesn't help the child for his or her parents to be trying new parenting skills when drug use is the issue.


scent of cedar

New Member
I just went back to read the list again.

I have two more things to add.

One of the things that would be a dead giveaway for me now is the condition of the child's room. The filth that piles up in the room of a child using drugs is an altogether different thing than that same child's "messy room".

The other thing is a marked change in the mood of the music the child enjoys. They seem to gravitate to angry music when they begin using drugs.



Active Member
We were those parents who assumed Alex was just "acting out" or displaying "bad behavior".

Although I was aware he was smoking pot, I never in my life imagined he moved on to heroin.

When I read this list, (although I have seen these in various places over the years) and answered very honestly, I saw that Alex was displaying 19 of those signs at the time.

Its so hard because even if you are aware of whats going on, the outcome is up to our children who use. They can take advantage of the help we try to give them. Or they can refuse, and really take the family on a wild ride. Leaving us only to cross all body parts, pray,and rattle beads that they stay alive long enough to wise up and change.


Well-Known Member
I've never mentioned this before but the reference to music made
it come to mind. With the pot smoking alot of the kids listen
to "slow" versions of the popular songs...at least around here.


New Member
I can say that 32 of the 34 applied to my son. All except for the chemical breath and the eye wash as to where he did not care who new and did not try to hide much. Now that he's been away since march he says he feels so much better than before and he says he can breathe.
I agree to all the above. My son is in jail right now for possession of marijuana 2nd or 3rd offense. I believe he has done it all. He is 24. One comment that was made about their room being a mess - - his room was absolutely filthy. You wouldnt believe what it looked like. We were giving him a nice place to refuel and go back for more - home. This time we are going to try "you cannot come home after jail" and see what happens. Right now he is ok with it. Who knows. :smile:


Active Member
Thanks again for this post. I'm going to move a copy into our Teens Archives so we can access it when needed.