In the spirit of my last post where I outlined the growing drug crisis in America, more specifically the growing trend of teenagers that deal drugs while in high school.
Clearly ANY drug dealing should be condemned, but this is especially true for our young people because it’s still not too late to reach out to them and show them that criminality is not the answer.
Regrettably, such a market exists because there is a growing number of teenagers that make up the other slice of the pie as drug consumers.
How to tell if your teenager is using illegal drugs in high school?
Let’s face it, being a young person in today’s era of confusion is not an easy thing to deal with, for starters, there is this thing called the internet and with it social media which places an enormous amount of pressure that’s unprecedented in past generations.
Thankfully, many parents before you have faced similar trials, tribulations and on-going struggles with their children, and the warning signs and treatment approaches are widely shared among parents throughout the US. However, before we begin to dabble in the various treatment options available, let’s first take a moment and examine some of the warning signs associated with drug use.
Warning Sign Number 1 – Behavioural Changes:
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to exhibit a number of changes throughout adolescence, so this sign in of itself should be taken with a grain of salt depending on the severity of changes your teenager is exhibiting.
Staying out past curfew and blatantly defying ground rules are classic teenage behaviors that are actually very common, however, if your teen is abusing drugs, these practices may also coincide with staying out all night, constantly asking for money and disappearing for long periods of time which may not be so common.
Warning Sign Number 2 – Physical Changes, and not for the better:
If your teenager is addicted to hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth, they may appear to be going through some type of withdrawal symptoms like cold sweats, shakes, extreme irritability and let’s not forget most drug users exhibit trouble sleeping at night – or sleeping too much – is all too common. Please keep in mind that there may be something more to this than simple hormonal changes that every teenager eventually goes through if your teen shows any type of weird or odd changes that otherwise was not observable.
Warning Sign Number 3 – Health and Hygiene
Teens are in the process of figuring out how life works as their bodies are undergoing changes, so in that sense, everything is a mystery to them.
No doubt, the process of changing hormones and rapid physical growth can take its toll on the growing body, there are certain warning signs that could be directly correlated to drug use.
If your teen is using substances intravenously, then you may observe the obvious track marks on arms and feet.
Headaches, apathy and periods of minimal sleep followed by subsequent days of non-stop rest are very common in anyone misusing heavy drugs like cocaine and heroin.
If your teen also shows drastic changes for the worst physically like bad skin, abrasions or other signs of decay, this is something that needs immediate attention as well.
An unkempt exterior combined with a lack of total regard towards their personal hygiene – especially if it is unusual for them – is a clear indicator that something is going on.
Warning sign Number 4 – Changes At Home And At School:
If you’ve noticed a major decline in your teen’s grades and an increase in them skipping school or otherwise a growing apathy towards school in general, there could be drug use involved.
If the school eventually reaches out to you about behavioral issues in the classroom or, worse, they report that your teen is inebriated then take this as permission to investigate further and then brace yourself, because this is a clear indicator that there may be hard drug use involved.
Also, ne proactive and be on the lookout for drug paraphernalia inside, or around your house or back yard.
It’s also a good idea to try and put your mind inside your teen for a moment and get creative by investigating if they have it stashed inside aluminum foil, small baggies or other creative spots like containers.
Be warned: if your teen cannot hold down a job then there is a strong possibility that they will attempt to steal from you with the hopes that they could pawn it off somewhere.
I have also heard some parents complain that their teen has also stolen alcohol, beer, and wine because they have a very good market value – especially among other teens who cannot purchase alcohol due to them being underaged.
What Can You Do If You Discover Your Teen Is Using Drugs?
There are a number of things you can do if not only suspect your teen is using drugs but if you are absolutely certain as well.
The first thing you have to do is not saddle yourself with guilt and blame yourself that your teen’s drug use is a result of your bad parenting. Drug use can happen to the best of us, and peer influence at your teen’s age is a huge determining factor.
Be Prepared To Be Called a Hypocrite:
If you and your teen don’t have a very close relationship, there’s a very good chance that, once they are confronted, your child will probably ask you in a challenging manner if you had ever done drugs.
Keep the focus on them, but you do have a past history of drug consumption that you had tried drugs because you wanted to fit in.
The reason is not as important as the message…
Let them know that drugs may not harm you in the short term, but over the long term, you witnessed close friends of yours fall wayside to the drugs, never really amounting to anything. And if this is not true, then refer them to antidotal situations.
You should focus on the fact that drugs affect everyone differently, and just because your life wasn’t harmed by drug use, you’ve seen it happen to too many other young folks before their life was subsequently ruined.
Confront Any Addiction In the Family:
Practically every family has its skeletons that live in the closet, and if you have certain family members that also have a drug addiction, don’t be afraid to bring it out in the open and have a frank conversation about it.
Rather than denying any addiction in your family, I recommend you use it as an opportunity to talk to your child and regularly remind them of their heightened risk.
Alcohol and drug dependency can happen to anyone. But if there is a history of addiction – nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, etc. – in your family, your teen has a much greater chance of developing an addiction as well.
Explain that while they may be tempted to try drugs, the odds aren’t in their favor. Their genes make them more vulnerable to developing a dependence or addiction.
Take Advantage Of Any Counseling The School Has To Offer:
Every school has it’s own counseling services, and I advise you to fully take advantage of these services. The good thing is that your child will be able to form a bond with a real good school counselor, and I don’t need to remind you of the importance of a positive role model for them to look up to that’s not connected to the family.
However, if they are adamant about not revealing their addiction issues in a school setting, don’t be afraid to look for outside sources. The important thing is that you are proactive in looking for the right help for your teen.
I certainly hope that you have a better understanding better on how to tell if your teenager is using illegal drugs in high school.
After all, it is an important topic to talk about, and as many studies indicate, rapid drug use is on the rise not only in America but throughout the world as well.
Most parents feel a sense of stigmatization toward the family, and because of this stigmatization, they refuse to acknowledge the growing problem, even when it hits close to home.
The important thing to remember is if you suspect your teen is using drugs of any kind you must confront the issue head-on and not try to bury your head in the sand hoping it will resolve itself.
With a proactive approach combined with the necessary compassion, there’s a real good chance your teen’s addiction to drugs will simply be a passing phase.
Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any stories to share, or you have experience in an intervention technique that really helped with your teen’s treatment I would really love to hear about it. Not only will this add to my post, but it will go a long way in helping other people tackle this growing crisis we face in North America.