How to tell if my teen is on drugs

I've heard that the use of marijuana and other drugs is on the rise in young teens. How can I tell if my 8th grader is using drugs?

Asked by a member via email.
In Topics: Teen issues, Teen alcohol and substance abuse
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 11, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

There are several signs which can show if a teenager may be using drugs. Some are more obvious and others are less. After someone smokes marijuana the pupils in their eyes will dilate. It can last for a few hours until they come down from their "high". The smell of marijuana smoke is heavier and sweeter than cigarette smoke. Users of marijuana tend to get hungry and they may eat a lot of sweets or salty foods.

No matter what drug the teen may be using, they almost always have changes in their appetites and sleeping patterns. They may also have a change in the friends they hang out with and may want to quit activities they used to enjoy. Using drugs costs money, unless they are stealing RX drugs from their parents, so watch for a change in spending habits. Another clue is a drop in grades and an overall decreased interest in school.

When it comes to our children using drugs, it has been said that communication is one of the best ways to prevent drug abuse. There is a current campaign which states that "parents are the anti-drug."

If you are concerned your child may be using drugs, you should take him to your pediatrician or family doctor for a check up. Ask the doctor in advance to talk with your child about drug abuse. You can also discuss your concerns with his school counselor. If you need someone to talk with immediately, you can call our toll-free hotline. Our counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to assist parents and kids of all ages and all situations. We also have websites for parents and one for teens, which are listed below.

Take care and best wishes to you and your family!

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline

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Additional Answers (2)

myteensavers writes:
The best way is to use a home drug test on your child.  If you don't have a strong bond of trust and dialogue with your teen, the home drug test is the best way to find out for sure.   It's private and reliable, and reasonably priced.   You can find them at
> 60 days ago

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Kell_Bell writes:
You can drug test them or ask them
But here are some of the symtoms
-they may hav lost or gained weight
-have random red marks on their skin(from injectable drugs)
-sweaty palms
-dry mouth
-always thristy
-mouth sores
-facial flushing
-if they snort cocain they will have a runny nose but no other cold symtoms
-glassy red eyes
-the smell is on their clothes & hair or breath
-pupils will be smaller or larger then usual
-extreme mood changes with little or no provocation
-notice if your money will go missing(child would use it to buy drugs)
-old friends would be discarded & they would be reluctant on having you meet their new friends
-start having behavior probs in school or skip school
-grades will suddenly drop
-not motivated
-no longer cares about favorite activties
Now dont think if your child has some of these they dpo drugs just wait and see.
> 60 days ago

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