Surely every parent would agree–one of their biggest and worst fears is to have their child abusing substances like drugs and alcohol. As parents, all they can do is to bring up their child the best way they know how and hope that their child is well-equipped to face the real life ahead.
When it comes to teenage drug use, however, education and fostering close and trust-based relationship between parents and children are key. While you can talk to your child about the dangers and realities of substance abuse, especially the consequences of teenage drug use, social pressures and stereotypes, as well as addiction myths, can lead your teen to the wrong path.
Don’t be alarmed, however. There are several techniques that can help you detect teenage drug use in your child. These techniques can be used to see if your child is using drugs.
1. Ask them. This is the most basic, if not the best, way to detect teenage drug use. Talk to your child. Encourage open communication and ask them, calmly, if they are using drugs. Parents usually can tell if their child is being dishonest, so by sitting them down to talk, you can easily get to the bottom of the problem. This also provides a great opportunity to hear out your teen if they have issues they need to be addressed or if they need to ask you for help.
2. Random drug test at home. Another method is to conduct a sudden and random drug test at home. You can buy a good drug testing kit in a pharmacy. You can also collect a sample of your child’s urine, saliva, or hair for testing in a laboratory.
3. School drug test. If you can’t conduct a drug test at home, then you can have your school test your child. There are schools that already conduct random drug tests on their students.
4. Sudden and unusual sleeping patterns. Stimulants such as meth or shabu can change the sleeping and even eating patterns of your child. If you think your child hasn’t been sleeping for extended and unusual periods of time over the course of many days or weeks, then this can be a cause for concern that may involve teenage drug use.
5. Performance in school. Whether your child is involved in academics or extra-curricular activities, participates in clubs or organizations, or just goes to school everyday, any disruption in pattern can be cause for concern. Sudden decline in performance as well as sudden disinterest in things they used to like doing can be a big hallmark of teenage drug use.
6. Friends, teachers, social circle. If your child has suddenly preferred a new group of friends over the ones they used to have, this can be a red flag. Pay particular attention to the people your teen hangs out with, especially if you know that one of them may already be using drugs. Also be on the lookout for friends and other people expressing concern over your teen.
7. Attitude change. They may become rebellious, secretive, and defiant. If you try to approach them, they may become aggressive especially when they feel cornered.
8. Check their room. Watch out for intense air fresheners that they may use to mask the odor of drugs, drug paraphernalia such as pipes and plastic bags, as well as other materials in the room that glorify drug use.
9. Physical signs. Your child may experience a wide range of physical symptoms:
- bloodshot eyes
- dilated or pinpoint eyes
- watery, glazed eyes
- sudden changes in appetite causing weight loss
- disregard for personal hygiene
- slurred speech
- itching and picking on skin
- needle marks
- rotten teeth
10. Psychological signs. A wide range of psychological signs might come out, and these can feed off on the drug abuse, causing an endless and destructive cycle.
- periods of strong focus
- periods of lethargy
- obsessing over repetitive activities
- inappropriate social responses
- agitation and violence