Narrow Default Wide
Blue Colour Green Colour Orange Colour Red Colour

Problems? Signs To Look For & Body Image


Changes in behavior often occur subtly and over time, making drug behaviors more difficult to identify. If you do not notice subtle changes, more blatant ones will begin to appear. While it may be difficult to distinguish typical adolescent behavior from drug-induced behavior, you should consider possible drug use if you notice several of these changes in your child:


Changes in Physical Appearance

  • Messy appearance, lack of hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils
  • Frequent use of eye drops
  • Runny nose, congestion, coughing
  • Wearing dark glasses when unnecessary
  • Pale face, circles under eyes


Changes in Eating and Sleeping Habits

  • Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia
  • Inappropriate napping
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Poor appetite
  • Sudden appetite, especially for sweets


Changes in Friends and Interests

  • New or different friends, especially ones who use drugs or are much older
  • Friends rarely introduced and seldom come to house
  • More time spent in room or away from home
  • Secrecy about actions and possessions
  • Hobbies, sports or extra-curricular activities are given up; everything is “boring”
  • Stays out past curfew


Attitudes towards Drugs and Alcohol

  • Pro-drug messages on posters, clothes, notebooks, or body
  • Strong defense of the occasional use of drugs by peers
  • Easily angered when confronted about drug use
  • Concern expressed by others over his/her use of alcohol or drugs


Physical Evidence of Drug Use

  • Evidence of inhalant use: cloth smelling of chemicals, glue bottles
  • Visine or other eye drops
  • Drug paraphernalia, e.g. roach clips, rolling papers, bongs, pipes, screens
  • Baggies containing dried leaves, seeds
  • Burning incense, room deodorizers
  • Prescription medication disappearing
  • Unexplained possession of large sums of money or belongings
  • Money or other valuables disappearing from family members


Changes in Behavior and Personality

  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Hostility, defiance of rules
  • Depression, “I don’t care” attitude
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Blaming, lying, making excuses
  • Loss of memory, shortened attention span, disordered thought patterns
  • Withdrawal from family, isolation, secretiveness


Changes in School or Job Performance

  • Lowered grades, neglected homework
  • Frequent tardiness and absenteeism
  • Falling asleep in class, discipline problems
  • Quitting or getting fired from job



  • Recognizing the problem is the first big step. Asking for help is the next one.
  • Talk to someone s/he trusts—parents, a school counselor, a teacher, a student in recovery.
  • Call the self-help resources located on the back page of this booklet—Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.
  • Contact a community resource—National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA), Bridges to Success.


Reviewed and endorsed by Scott Snodgrass, M.A., Program Director Bridges to Success





Published by Parent Network of Catholic High Schools, June, 2013...................................................