Signs Your Child Might Be Using DrugsEveryone wants their children to be healthy and happy, but sadly, that isn’t always the case. Peer pressure, depression, hereditary factors, mental health problems, and other factors can cause your child to turn to drugs. Before any parent can begin to seek solutions for a drug dependency, the parents have to recognize that there their son or daughter is using.

Health organizations, doctors, schools, and many other community-based nonprofits are trying to meet the challenge of drug-use awareness. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is one such program. Some of the many signs of symptoms of childhood drug use and abuse, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, are:

Behavioral changes

Behavioral changes are one of the first signs of drug or alcohol dependency – though, if you are the parent of a teenage, you might not realize that’s what they are at first. You want to look for patterns of behavioral changes. Among the most common are:

  • Ending old friendships, starting new ones, or changing the way he/she relates to siblings
  • Staying out past curfew
  • Asking for money / stealing money
  • Locking the door to his/her room
  • Avoiding looking at you directly
  • Having the “munchies” or unusual eating patterns
  • Trying to cover his/her breath with mints or other substances
  • Constant excuses
  • Physical clumsiness
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Doesn’t attend school and misses work
  • Not interested in after-school activities or hobbies
  • Teacher complaints about performance and attitude
  • Work supervisors complain about ability to do the job

Changes in mood

Again, teenagers are going through complex hormonal changes, so simply seeing some of these moods reflected in your child does not indicate a drug or alcohol abuse problem. If you see your child’s moods change quickly – often within a short timeframe – or if you child exhibits multiple mood swings in conjunction with other symptoms, it could be a sign of dependency:

  • Depression, anxiety, or sullenness
  • Not able to concentrate
  • Doesn’t communicate
  • Angry or hostile
  • Laughs for no reason
  • Hyperactive
  • Unusually happy

Personal hygiene and looks

Middle and high school are usually times when appearances matter more to kids. They’re trying out their changing bodies and voices, and they want to highlight what makes them attractive to others. (Not all kids are like this, of course.) Poor hygiene and grooming may be signs of a problem, and so might:

  • Cheeks that are red or flushed
  • Skin that is waxen or pale
  • Sloppiness and messiness when it comes to clothing
  • Smells of smoke
  • Unusually acrid body odor
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothes in warmer months
  • Burns around the lips, nose, or fingers

Health problems

For many parents, health problems are the clear indication that something isn’t right. All kids get sick, but here are some of the more common signs of abuse:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Open lesions
  • Unusual thirst
  • Seizures
  • Nausea vomiting
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
  • Accelerated, decelerated or arrhythmic heartbeats
  • Sudden onset of “allergies”

Please note: if you enter a room and see your child is breathing shallowly, is unresponsive, or has blue-tinged lips or fingers, these are clear signs of an opioid overdose. It is critical that you call 9-1-1 immediately.

Additional signs

Even if your child is not exhibiting any of the “traditional” signs of dependence, there are a few other signs you should be on the look-out for. They include:

  • Missing medication and prescriptions
  • Unusual packages coming to the door or through the mail
  • Missing money or valuable assets
  • Wrappers and containers that cannot be explained
  • Drug paraphernalia, such as rolling papers, eye droppers, bongs made from aluminum foil or toilet paper, pipes, and butane lighters

Once parents suspect that their child might be using drugs, it helps to speak with experienced counselors and health professionals about the best strategies for confronting your child and for developing treatment plans. Early intervention is best since addiction and abuse only worsen with time. Children who use, make, or sell drugs, are in danger of being charged with drug-related juvenile or adult crimes.

At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, we understand your fears and concerns for your children. We work with many healthcare organizations and professionals to help your child get treatment. Our drug defense lawyers work to keep your children out of jail.  To speak with a caring Sevierville attorney, please call us at (865) 428-8780 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We proudly serve parents and children in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.