The wondering and worrying are unbearable. If you find yourself asking “is my teen abusing drugs”, don’t wait for hard evidence. Find out now.

It can be difficult to determine whether an adolescent’s moodiness or troublesome behaviors actually stem from drug abuse, mental illness, or just typical puberty. Do not ignore your intuitive concerns if you find yourself wondering, is my teen abusing drugs?  Below is an informative list compiled of signs and symptoms that can help parents identify teen drug abuse from respected sources that educate and inform about teenage drug abuse facts, such as NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence):

  1. Behavioral Issues. Red flags include if the adolescent goes out every night, breaks curfew often, avoids eye contact, or if relationships with family members or friends are changing. The teen may tend to act secretively, withdrawn, or disappear for a long time, or at other times exhibit loud and obnoxious behavior. These are things to take note of. He or she may no longer be interested in school, or maybe getting into trouble often or arguments with friends and family. You may catch the teen making excuses for frequent mistakes, poor grades or undesirable behavior. Has he or she been in a recent car accident, pulled over for reckless driving, or come home with explainable damage to the car? Is there money or valuables missing from the home? Has any drug paraphernalia were found in their possession?  These are all signs to check for that will make it easier to answer the question, is my teen abusing drugs?
  2. Physical warning signs of teen substance abuse include coming home with dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes, or a lack of coordination or balance. There may be bruises present on the adolescent’s body that they have no explanation for. There may be evidence of neglect in personal grooming or a diminishing pride in appearance. They may communicate incoherently, have slurred speech, and appear to be shaky or display an unstable gait.
  3. Psychological warning signs of teen drug abuse may include a sudden change in personality or mood that is baffling to family or friends. The adolescent may be irritable or have fits of anger or rage.  They may come across as agitated or hyperactive. They may seem lethargic, unable to focus, or even paranoid, anxious or fearful.

With all of the signs that you now know to look for, you are not alone when you ask the next question, can I force my teenager into rehab? There are other parents that find themselves in this situation and only want to act in their child’s best interests and keep them out of danger due to drug abuse. The answer to this question may be complicated, depending on the teenager’s age, the state you live in, and what the laws are.  Forcing someone to get help is not ideal, but if it will save the adolescent from being a danger to themselves or others, it may be necessary.  Most of the time, minor adolescents under the age of 18 can be placed in a residential treatment for drug abuse without their consent. You may have feelings of guilt when you ask, can I force my teenager into rehab?  But, it could be the smartest decision if your child’s life is at risk due to drug abuse.  Here are some teenage drug abuse facts:

  • Almost 50% of high school seniors have abused a drug of some kind.
  • Almost 70% of high school seniors don’t feel that smoking marijuana is harmful.
  • Marijuana and alcohol are the most commonly abused drugs among teenagers.
  • By 8th grade, 15% of children have tried marijuana.
  • Almost 10% of teenagers use the prescription drug Adderall.
  • 65% of teenagers have admitted to being given prescription painkillers from a friend or family member.
  • Almost 30% of teenagers know someone who has used the drug ecstasy.
  • Nearly half of all high school students know someone they go to school with that sells drugs.

Is my teen abusing drugs? While most parents are quick to wonder, many underestimate the risk or seriousness of drug abuse among teenagers.  If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned changes or behaviors in your adolescent son or daughter, it is best to take action and have a conversation with your child, and maybe also enlist the help of your child’s primary care physician or a psychologist to try and get to the root of the issue.  Learn the signs, symptoms, and teenage drug abuse facts so that you can be aware of what is going on in your child’s life, and act appropriately if something doesn’t seem right. Don’t wait until there is a cry for help. Instead, help eliminate the potential pitfalls of teen drug abuse.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.