A Closer Look: Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

In the most recent Monitoring the Future Survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse 13% of 8th graders, 30% of 10th graders and 40% of 12th graders reported using a drug at least once in the past year. The most commonly abused drug was Marijuana – more than 25% of 10th graders have tried the drug at least once in the past year.

Here are some warning signs that your teen might be abusing drugs or alcohol

Home and School Indicators:
Missing prescription medications
Disappearance of money
Loss of interest in schoolwork
Truancy and drop in grades
Negative feedback from teachers

Behavioral signs:
Withdrawn and depressed
Careless about personal grooming
Frequently breaks curfew
Change in relationships with family members and friends
Lose interest in hobbies, sports, other activities

Physical signs:
Loss or increase of appetite
Nausea or vomiting
Excessive sweating
Frequent sickness
Sores, spots around mouth

What to do if you think your teen is using
If you think your teenager is using drugs or alcohol, take action to help them get back to a healthy life. Be sure to look for the warning signs of substance abuse and keep in mind that many of these symptoms appear gradually over time. Wait for the right moment to talk with your teen about your concerns and give your child the chance to talk too.

How to get help
Talk to trusted family physician, mental health professional or a substance abuse counselor for a second opinion. Fairbanks has a teen help line that parents can call to speak confidentially with an adolescent specialist. Call 855-518-2501 or visit www.fairbankscd.org/teens.