Do you suspect that your child is abusing alcohol or using drugs? 
Are you worried? 
Have you noticed some changes with your child? 
As a parent, it is normal to be concerned.

Here are some of the warning signs to look for:

  • Physical and health signs of drug abuse
  • Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
  • Frequent nosebleeds could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.  Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
  • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
  • Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about-  they don’t know how they got hurt.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.

Behavioral signs of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Skipping class, declining grades, getting in trouble at school.
  • Drop in attendance and performance at work--loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise--decreased motivation.
  • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
  • Missing money, valuables, prescription or prescription drugs, borrowing and stealing money.
  • Acting isolated, silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Clashes with family values and beliefs.
  • Preoccupation with alcohol and drug-related lifestyle in music, clothing and posters.
  • Demanding more privacy, locking doors and avoiding eye contact.
  • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).
  • Using incense, perfume, air freshener to hide smell of smoke or drugs.
  • Using eye drops to mask bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils.
  • Psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unexplained, confusing change in personality and/or attitude.
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appears fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.


 Commonly Abused Drugs: 

  • Alcohol - Aside from Marijuana, alcohol remains one of the most common drugs of abuse.  Given its easy access and social acceptance, many kids find this easy to obtain.
  • Cocaine - Cocaine can me smoked, injected or snorted
  • Heroin - The United States has been a significant increase in the use of heroin.  Minnesota continues to be a hub of large amounts of heroin and several of our youth are now using it.   Heroin is being injected and smoked.   For most youth they start using heroin after they have been using opiate based pain killers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Tylenol3 and codeine.
  • Huffing: Huffing or inhaling chemicals can also be dangerous.  Some common inhalants include, nitrous oxide (commonly know as "whip its")  Other chemicals, air duster (electronics are cleaners) and household cleaning supplies can be huffed.
  • Marijuana: New forms of marijuana have been made given the increase in medical marijuana in Colorado and other states.   Many forms no come in candy bars, gummy nears, cookies, suckers, and drops.  There are also additional forms of marijuana call was and "shatter" which looks like amber colored glass.  Although society has demonstrated a welcoming attitude toward marijuana., it is still a concern for youth, demonstrating memory problems, lower grades, IQ decline, and with prolonged use, lasting psychosis. 
  • Methamphetamine:  Most methamphetamine is smoked, however, Minnesota has seen an increase in meth use as well, which is also being injected. street names: Crystal Meth, Crystal, Crissy, Tina, Crank, Speed, Shards, Glass, Ice, Dope, Go, Whizz
  • Pain Killers:  Most pain killers come in tablets form, however some can be received in liquid form.  Some of these include cough syrup with codeine.  This is somethings known as "lean".  Also some pain medication can be found in patches.  Pain pills can also be smoked on tin foil with a straw.
  • Prescription Drugs: Anti-anxiety drugs (Benzodiaepines): Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, these can be snored, smoked and are sometimes mixed with alcohol (one of the most dangerous mixes) it will stop/reduce heart rate rapidly, leading to death. 
  • Synthetic Drugs: 2ce; 2ci, "N-Bomb", ecstasy/molly, LSD (acid).  Most of these substances are taken orally by tablet.


 The more you learn about addiction, the better prepared you will be to combat it.