Something's changed with your teenager the past few weeks or months, but you don't know if this is just part of growing up or if you should be concerned. Parents of adolescents constantly walk a line between giving teens space to grow up and directing them to grow up in the best possible way, and understanding the signs of teen drug abuse can help you know when that line needs to be drawn a little closer to home.
While drug or alcohol use can come with a variety of signs, including changes in how your teen engages with others, behaves and performs in school or cares for himself or herself on a daily basis, these types of symptoms can also be related to other issues or to adolescence in general. One thing parents can do to help them understand if their teen is using drugs is to look for a combination of drug abuse symptoms, which we've covered in several recent blogs, along wtih the presence of drug paraphernalia in a teen's room, car or backpack.
If you suspect that your teen is abusing or addicted to drugs, call us today for more information about treatment programs specifically for adolescents (844)319-5239.
Signs of drugs or drug paraphernalia
The presence of drug paraphernalia in a teen's room, backpack or car can be an enormous clue about teen drug abuse. Even if your teen says the items are for someone else — and that turns out to be true — a teenager who will hold illegal items for a friend is at risk of taking the next step to drug abuse, so it's an important conversation for parents to have with kids. Talking to your teen as soon as you see anything that might look like it's related to drugs is important, and reaching out for assistance with the matter if the teen refuses to talk or you believe that he or she is using drugs can help stop further use and serious consequences.
Where do teens hide drug paraphernalia?
Teens might hide drug paraphernalia in a variety of locations, including under beds, at the back of closets, on high shelves and in drawers filled with other items or clothing. Items can be slipped between or behind books on a shelf, in dirt in a potted plant, inside books with pages cut out, in sports or book bags or in video and music cases. Teens might even hide drugs in over-the-counter medicine bottles or inside empty candy or snack bags in their rooms.
Parents often leave teen spaces alone in an attempt to provide privacy, but it's important to walk a healthy line between being actively present in your child's life and letting them grow up. Visit their room to talk to them regularly, or help them clean or conduct other maintenance. Not only do you engage with them, creating time for conversation and relationship, but you also get to see what is going on in their space.
What drug-related items should parents look for
Items that might indicate drugs are being used include:
- bongs and other smoking devices
- rolling papers
- small spoons
- paper tubes or straws
- tin foil
- glow sticks
- surgical masks
- pacifiers and lollipops
- tubes of glue
- aerosol cans
- pill bottles
It should also be noted that teenagers can be extremely resourceful and creative, so items they employ to use drugs may not look like what you see on television or the internet. If you see anything odd or out of place, ask them about it in a nonconfrontational way. Don't automatically assume something is related to drug use, but don't be afraid to show interest by asking what something is.
Next Steps for Parents
If you are able to check off several of the signs of teen drug abuse from our previous posts, or if you find numerous possible paraphernalia items in your teen's room or car, it's time to take action. Even if you don't find these things or see these signs, there's never a bad time to engage your teen in a discussion about drugs and alcohol. Talking now about drugs and alcohol could prevent addiction or abuse in the future.
If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol or is struggling with addiction, reach out today for help. At The Teen Treatment Center, our admissions counselors are always ready to take your call and provide information about options for teen rehab and getting your child healthy and sober again. Call us at (844)319-5239.