It’s not always easy to tell when teens are using drugs because many signs or symptoms are common for youth this age. While there is no single warning sign for drug or alcohol use, some signs to look for include:

  • Skipping classes or not doing well in school
  • Unusual odors on their clothes or in their room
  • Hostility or lack of cooperation
  • Physical changes (red eyes, runny nose)
  • Borrowing money often, or suddenly having extra cash
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Significant mood changes
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance
  • Change in friends
  • Heightened secrecy about actions or possessions

The #1 reason kids choose not to use drugs or alcohol is because they don’t want to disappoint their parents.
There are ways to prevent your children from using alcohol and drugs, and they all start with you:

  • Provide clear and consistent rules and consequences
  • Know your child’s whereabouts at all times– make sure their social environment is alcohol and drug free
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their parents
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and search your child’s room and belongings if you suspect that s/he is using drugs or alcohol or is involved in other risky behaviors
  • Be proud of them and praise them when they do something good
  • Let them know that you disapprove of, and will not tolerate, underage use of alcohol and tobacco and all use of illegal drugs