Signs of Drug Abuse – Seven Clues to Look For

This question is one of the most often asked when one of our presenters is speaking to a group of parents or teachers. How to tell if a young person is abusing drugs?

While there is no single way to know with certainty when a person has started experimenting with drugs, there are actually many changes that can indicate drug use. These changes are in the areas of appearance, mannerisms and attitude. Also there can be changes in participation in group activities, a lessening in motivation toward prior goals and a lowering of his/her general willingness to help.

Because a person on drugs usually needs to hide his activities, usual mannerisms begin to change. This “hiding” shows up in many ways, no matter how much he tries to make everything appear normal.

Watch for Changes in the General Mannerisms

1. The person cannot comfortably look you in the eye when speaking,being spoken to or approached.

Even though this is sometimes merely a sign of low communication skills and basic shyness, when it shows up as a change, it is often an indicator of drugs.

2. The person is very unreliable.

The person is not dependable, shows up late to school/work and it keeps getting worse, despite efforts at correction.

3. Generally sad, grumpy or a not caring attitude.

This could be the person’s normal way. However it is also a tip-off that there is a drug abuse problem, especially if it is a sudden change from the usual.

4. Short attention span, does not listen well.

Children are easily distracted. That is why the average kid’s TV show is a constantly changing, flash-flash of images. Keeping them focused can be a challenge. But the inability to focus could also indicate a drug use problem, especially if it is a relatively recent change.

5. Sudden change in friends.

Another strong indicator is a sudden change in friends, especially if the new group acts a suspiciously and rarely wants to be around the parents or in the house. This is another way that the person separates himself from those who might not agree with his new activities.

6. Monday morning ‘blahs’.

Some of the new “club drugs” often leave the user with a pronounced depression the day or even days after they are used. The more often these drugs are used, the longer the period of depression can last.

7. Changes in sleeping or eating habits.

Normal sleep habits very often change when a person begins to use drugs regularly. They might stay up late and then sleep away the day. They also might begin to sleep very little for long periods and then sleep solidly for 36 hours. these are indications of drug abuse.

Always be alert

At first you might not see any physical signs of drug use. It takes time for the body to show the effects, especially when drug abuse starts

Again, the most important things to be alert for are sudden changes in attitudes, and behavior patterns. Of course, the process of growing up is a process of change, but things like being tired all morning, or suddenly happy or awake after lunch or a break could mean the person is using drugs to get through the day.

Drug Abuse Prevention, Communications & Information – The Keys to Helping Your Kids &Your Friends

You can prevent someone near you from getting hooked on drugs or stopping an addiction with not a lot of effort and talent. Start with honing your communication skills. Decide to get into a conversation about the dire effects upon the mind and body with the person you love or know has a problem.

But how to do it?

First, consider what NOT to do: Do not overload him or her with too many statistics or with a preacher-like lecture. There is an old saying that “A mind that ‘s changed against its will is of the same opinion still.” There’s a lot of truth in that bit of wisdom. Rather start any conversation establishing agreement (on any subject). Establish agreement so that the person feels comfortable with you in the conversation rather than being on the defensive because of the overload of information being shoved at him or her in a too-long lecture. A lecture is not a real communication.

A real communication is a two-way street in which information is both sent out, received with understanding, and then completed with an answer that deals with the subject at hand.

Also, any real communication is done by keeping a “low gradient” on the subject. In other words, start with a subject, such as the weather, sports, or another area of common interest in which agreement can be sought easily with no disagreement whatsoever. Instead of hammering a person with a ton of statistics about how bad drugs are, how much drug abuse is associated with crime, violence, unhappiness, etc., etc., etc., statistic, statistic, statistic, just keep the message easy to understand and with a minimum of emotion. You will know when you are successful at communicating when the two-way conversation is comfortable between the two of you. With a youngster, that may take awhile and might take several conversations spread over days or weeks.

When your youngster or other friend is comfortable talking to you about the dangers of street-drug abuse, you wil find that you need reference materials that are easy to read and understand. They, in effect, are third party influences that do not come from “mom and dad.” Instead, the youngster is more willing to accept the “third party” authority of the booklets that you can give them. (After all, what do mom and dad or grandpa and grandma know about anything anyway?)

Also, know that your children looks up to you more than you realize, even though they would never admit it.

Concurrently, they also face peer pressure so intense that you have to do something positive to offset it. You can also use the booklets to role-play situations in which your child is confronted by an overbearing drug-pusher. When your child stops the pusher in his tracks with a resounding “no,” you will have succeeded even though you were never told what happened.

Want to learn more about parental drug prevention communication? Go to my website: [http://waragainstdrugs.org], and open it now.

There are two great booklets offered. One is titled, “10 Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs.” The other is “How to Talk to Children About Drugs.”

They’re inexpensive and easy to order.

Once you have them in your home, they can be your invaluable reference booklets that keep drug abuse out of your life.