Do I have a child using drugs?  It is a question that no parent really wants to entertain.  But all parents need to ask the question, because the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCAS) states that:

  • 97% of high school students say that classmates drink, use drugs, or smoke
  • 86% percent (almost 9 out of 10) said that some of their classmates were drinking, smoking and using drugs during school
  • 75% of youth over the age of 12 say that pictures of teens drinking, smoking or doing drugs on social networking sites encourages them to do the same

With these numbers, shouldn’t all parents ask is my child using drugs?  Youth, like adults, are relationship oriented, so most youth are doing things with their friends, not because of them.
What used to be deviant behavior is accepted and endorsed by the current culture, and every parent needs to take stock.  Since youth are using drugs at earlier and earlier ages, asking the question is a preventative step that parents have to take.
Research supports that one of the most important reasons why a youth would choose not to do drugs is parental expectations.  To make sure that children have clear expectations, parents have to be engaged in their children’s lives.  But engagement is still no guarantee.  So, here are some signs that your child may be using drugs:

  • Losing interest in activities that used to be important to them
  • A new set of friends that are vastly different than before
  • Unclear about where they are going to be
  • Losing their phone or personal items
  • Change in eating habits and sleep patterns
  • Unusual odors on their clothes
  • Mood swings that are outside the norm of adolescence
  • Consistent negative attitude, argumentative, or highly defensive
  • Missing valuables from the home

No single sign indicates that your child is using drugs. But when you look at many of these in combination, or simply just have a sense that something is going on, then don’t simply ignore it or assume; “not my child!  Why not your child?  Youth in today’s culture see drugs as merely a form of entertainment and an escape from boredom.  Every child and situation is different but do not use that as a reason to not follow your instincts or warning signs.  Pay attention to the signs in your son or daughters life and be aware of what is going on with their friends and the culture around them.

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