Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



February 2011

Symptoms of Drug Abuse Among Teens in California

by Staff, on abuse, drug, substance, teen, teenage

Drug abuse problem is rising every day among California teens. To deal with this problem, first you must recognize it.


There are many symptoms of drug abuse, and unfortunately, lots of them are hard to be spotted, as they are similar or same as usual changes an average teenager goes through. If, and when you spot some of them, you cannot turn the blind eye and hope that thing will get better once your kid passes the phase, it may be too late. You must react immediately, even if it is not a drug problem, your child may still need help.


drug abuseThe most common symptoms of drug abuse are:

-          Personality change

-          Change of typical behavior

-          Extreme mood swings

-          Forgetting commitments

-          Sudden bursts of anger

-          Lying or avoiding answers

As almost every teenager goes through these changes, you should also pay attention to some of the physical symptoms:

-          Avoiding eye to eye contacts

-          Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare

-          Loss or increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits,

-          Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.

-          Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating

-          Irregular heartbeat

-          Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet

You mat also find some evidence in their room or surroundings like the smell of drugs (of cigarettes or marihuana), matches, rolling papers, and pipes, pill bottles, mirrors for drugs that are snorted, and needles and syringes…

Warning signs may be also seen in school environment:

-          Drop in grades

-          Decreased interest in school activities and studies

-          Missing classes

-          Problems with discipline

-          Disrespect of teachers

You may also notice that your child has changed friends, that some old friends are avoiding him/her, or that he/she ended his/her relationship, with no apparent reason. Changes of clothing, favorite music and hobbies can be symptoms, along with staying alone in room, breaking curfew, running away from home…

Drugs costs money, so if you notice increased spending and borrowing money, beware. Drug abuse often even leads to stealing and selling belongings, or taking drugs “on tab”  and having problems with paying back, later.

There are many symptoms of drug abuse and every drug has its own. The sooner you learn to recognize them, sooner you will deal with the problem, and avoid many of other problems that follow. Staff