It is a fear every parent has – what if my child starts using drugs? The fear is well-founded. Statistics show that by the end of high school, a significant portion of teens have experimented with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and prescription medications. Just trying substances does not necessarily mean that they will become addicted – but what if they do?
As a parent, it’s important to know the signs of drug abuse in children and teens. When you know the signs, you can intervene. If necessary, you can get professional help. According to Stanford Children’s Health, the earlier you seek help for a child or teen with substance abuse issues, the better.
Common Signs of Drug Use in Children and Teens
Before you read this list, please keep in mind that you are likely the best judge of when your child is in trouble. Children, particularly teens, are experiencing significant changes in their physical and mental states. That can lead to unexpected changes and behavior without drugs ever being involved. But if you are worried about drug use, the following signs are a good starting point to identify if drugs are truly a concern.
1. Dramatic change in physical health
As a parent, you probably have a pretty good idea of what good health means for your child. If you notice that your child’s health is declining, you can take them to the doctor. If the doctor doesn’t identify any obvious cause, such as an illness, it is time to start asking questions.
2. Evidence of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia
This sign may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many parents ignore it. If you find drugs or drug paraphernalia in your child’s room or personal belongings, you have good reason to worry. The evidence may belong to someone else. But it may not. This kind of evidence makes it reasonable to assume that they are using some substance or seriously considering it.
3. Severe mood swings or changes in behavior
On its own, moodiness or behavioral changes may not be enough to automatically assume drugs are involved. This is especially true if your child is in their teenage years. However, you if notice these things getting significantly worse in a short period of time, drugs may be the cause.
4. Consistently lying about after school or weekend activities
You may notice that your child or teen is lying about where they go and what they do. Everyone can tell a white lie now and then, but persistent lying is a reason for concern.
Be Careful When Considering Residential Treatment Centers
If you are certain your child is struggling with substance abuse, professional treatment is often the best solution. However, if you are considering residential treatment, be very careful when choosing a center. Residential treatment center abuse is a significant problem in Utah and throughout the country.
You may have already sought treatment at a residential treatment center and experienced abuse. If so, we encourage you to contact our firm. Our residential treatment center abuse attorney will help you hold them accountable for their actions.
Call us at (801) 845-4577 or fill out our secure, online contact form now to learn more.