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You May Never Actually See the Drugs: Often-Missed Signs of Drug Abuse in Teens

A Man Taking Drugs.
It's common for parents to assume that if they don't catch their child doing drugs or find drugs in their teen's possession, drug use is not an issue. But the fact of the matter is teenage addicts are often very skilled at hiding their habits from parents. The drugs themselves may be stashed in a secret compartment, kept at a friend's house, or even hidden in a local park. You may never find them.
For this reason, it's important not to rely on the presence or absence of drugs as an indicator of whether or not your teen is abusing drugs. What you should do is be on the lookout for these other, often-missed signs of drug abuse in teens.

Changes in Behavior

Teens are known for being moody and irritable at times, so a bout of grumpiness alone should not be taken to indicate drug abuse. Rather, you should keep an eye out for secretive behavior, like sneaking out at night and locking bedroom doors. Your teen may also be spending all of their money even though you can't specifically find anything they have purchased.
There are also specific behavioral changes that come with certain drugs.
Cocaine tends to make users overly energetic. They may appear hyperactive, moving and fidgeting frequently, and they may also become easily agitated at situations and scenarios that would not generally bother them.
Heroin users often experience unclear thinking and impaired decision making. Your teen may start making decisions that seem completely illogical to you. Heroin users also tend to experience constipation, so your teen may begin using laxatives. If you ever notice your teen seeming lethargic and slipping in and out of wakefulness, this may be a sign he or she has been using heroin.
Crystal Meth
Crystal meth tends to send users on a roller coaster of emotions. Your teen may seem anxious one minute and depressed and lethargic the next. Violet outbursts are also common among meth users. You may notice that your teen seems paranoid or has trouble sleeping.

Missing Items

Most parents know to look for drug paraphernalia, like rolled-up papers and burnt spoons, in their teen's possessions. But if your teen is using drugs somewhere other than home, such as at school or at a friend's house, you may not actually see these items. You may, however, notice strange items going missing from their regular spots in your home as your teen steals them for drug use.
Items that teens may pilfer for drug use include aluminum foil, small plastic bags, lighters, kitchen spoons, and mirrors. Spend an hour or two taking inventory of these items in your home, and then check every week or so to be sure they're not disappearing and your supplies are not dwindling.

Social Changes

If you notice any of these signs of drug use in your teenager, it's time to start asking questions. Do not accuse them, but do ask simple and direct questions, such as "Have you been using cocaine?" Then, seek the treatment your child deserves through a facility like Cedar Grove Medical Associates and Recovery Services.