Some parents are shocked to learn that their teen is using drugs. Short of catching them using, there is no guaranteed way to know, but here are some signs that often point to drug abuse:
1. Hanging out with sketchy friends - especially friends who have a reputation for being drug users. It's hard to be close friends with drug users and not use yourself.
2. Paraphernalia - it would be rare to find paraphernalia (pipe, bong, rolling papers, scales, etc.) without any personal drug use.
3. Fascination with drugs - online searches, conversation, excessive interest in drug-themed movies all are often associated with personal use..
4. Declines in school performance and general motivation - especially when the drop in grades is not characteristic of past performance; especially true when it can't be explained by some other reason.
5. Physical signs - red eyes, physical disorientation, smelling like smoke or unusual odors.
6. Attempts to cover tracks - Visine, Niacin, drinking excessive amounts of water, locked boxes and compartments, and so on.
7. Secretiveness and dishonesty - not being forthcoming about where they were, who they were with; outright lying when asked direct questions, especially about where they were, who they were with, what they were doing.
8. Funny money - having unexplained cash, going through cash quicker than expected, family members missing cash, etc.
9. Mood swings - more than normal adolescent mood changes.
10. Weird sleep - sleeping too much, up all night, especially if it is a different pattern than in the past.
Even though these are some of the top indicators, it is still possible for your teen to be using substances without showing many of these signs. On the other hand, just because he or she may be showing some of these symptoms, it doesn't mean your child is definitely using drugs. If you are not sure, it may be a good idea to seek some consultation.