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Top 10 Warning Signs Your Teenager May Be Using Drugs

teendrugsYou may think, “my child would never use drugs.” Or, “Well, everyone dabbles a little bit.” You may even think, “I experimented with drugs when I was a teenager, and I turned out okay.” With that kind of thinking, you’re turning your back on the facts:

  • In 2012, an estimated 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug or abused a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer in the past month.
  • The drugs of choice among adolescents today are far different and much more powerful than those your generation may have experimented with as teenagers.
  • Heroin began making a comeback several years ago, and its use is now reaching epidemic proportions in some areas of the country.

In short, teen substance abuse is a significant problem. Alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy (MDMA) top the list of the most popular drugs among adolescents. Abuse of prescription medications such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and even Ritalin—usually stolen from your own or a friend’s medicine cabinet—is becoming a recreational activity for some adolescents.

How to recognize a problem–before it’s too late

How can you tell if your child is using drugs? Finding drug paraphernalia is an obvious sign, but many other warning signs are often dismissed as typical adolescent behavior. Watch for:

  • Mood swings or depression
  • Dishonesty and secretiveness
  • Anger, irritability or defensiveness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Money missing in the home
  • Suspicious phone calls or seemingly nonsensical text messages
  • Unexplained weight loss, red eyes, poor hygiene
  • Missing school or not coming home after school
  • Associating with a new group of friends you barely know
  • Trouble in school or with the police

If you write off such behaviors as “normal” without considering the possibility of drug use, you may not realize your child has a problem until it’s become an addiction that can cause serious health, financial, or legal consequences.

At Horizon Health Services, we’ve helped countless families deal with the difficulty and stress of substance abuse — and we’re just as dedicated to helping prevent it. Call us any time at 716.831.1800 for more information or to schedule a consultation if you’re worried about your children’s health and welfare.