Red Flags & Signs


Red Flags & Signs

Now would be a good time to make a safety net out of those parachute pants.

It can be tempting to minimize or dismiss the warning signs sometimes. And almost every potential red flag can likely be explained away by something else.

Here’s the lowdown:

We all want to believe our kids would never do anything dangerous. Or anything that would really disappoint us. They’re good kids, right? But fact is, they are a source of worry for every parent. You look after them for years, and you hope they end up turning out alright.

As a parent, trust your gut instinct when it comes to noticing whether your child’s behavior is different or something is off. If your teen is behaving oddly and you are wondering whether you should say something, always err on the side of caution.

Given that teens are more prone to risk-taking behaviors this can put them at risk for injury, overdose, unprotected sex, and drunk driving, drug abuse can be serious and potentially life-threatening. Also, their brains are still developing and can be severely impacted by the impact of substances.

So what do you look for?

Signs at Home:

  • Loss of interest in family activities
  • Disrespect for family rules
  • Withdrawal from responsibilities
  • Breaks curfew
  • Doesn’t tell you where they are going
  • Makes excuses for their behavior
  • Spends a lot of time in their room
  • Lies about activities
  • Finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, roach clips, small glass vials, plastic baggies, remnants of drugs, (seeds, etc.), pills, pods, or notice their online buying behavior is suspicious

Signs at School:

  • Skips school or is regularly late to school
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Loss of interest in learning
  • Sleeping in class
  • Poor work performance
  • Not doing homework
  • Not listening to authority
  • Poor attitude toward sports or other extracurricular activities
  • Reduced memory and attention span
  • Not informing you of teacher meetings, open houses, etc.
  • Change of friends
  • Gets in trouble at school

Physical & Emotional Signs:

  • Change of friends
  • Smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body
  • Over-reacts to criticism acts rebellious
  • Overly tired or hyperactive
  • Extreme weight loss or gain
  • Always needs money, or has excessive amounts of money
  • Lies about their drug or alcohol use
  • Gets in trouble with the law
  • Feels unhappy, depressed, or suicidal
  • Brags or talks frequently about using drugs or alcohol
  • Takes risks and makes unhealthy choices
  • Spends more time alone
  • Larger or smaller pupils than normal, bloodshot eyes
  • Nose bleeds
  • Slurred or unclear speech
  • Shaking
  • Poor coordination

It can be tempting to minimize or dismiss the warning signs sometimes. And almost every potential red flag can likely be explained away by something else. Not every teen who does things on this list is going to be doing drugs. If some of these warning signs fit your teen, take a look at the whole picture. Become more involved and find out what they are doing, where they are going, and who they’re going with. A closer look at your teen’s daily activities will give you further clues into whether there’s a reason for concern.

Your child may also just seem “not themselves”. If you’re noticing sudden personality changes, odd outbursts, or sudden changes in motivation, substance use may be factor. If you suspect your teen may be suicidal, know the warning signs and get help: 1-888-568-1112