Drug signs and teenagers
Teenagers and drugs
Although some surveys suggest that drug use in teens has decreased since 2001, the numbers are still quite high. Over 17% of high school students admit use of illegal drugs within one month of when they were asked and more than 40% of those over 12 years old say that they have tried an illegal substance at least once.
Some signs of possible drug use include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Persistent cough
- Pupils of eyes extremely big (dilated) or extremely small (pinpoint); nystagmus (rapid eye motion) might be a sign of PCP abuse
- Loss of appetite (occurs with amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine use)
- Increased appetite (with marijuana use)
- Sluggishness, listlessness, or constant sleeping (opiate drugs such as heroine, codeine; or may occur when coming down off stimulant drugs)
- Hyperactivity (as seen with "uppers" such as cocaine, methamphetamine)
- Poor school performance and increased school absenteeism
- Withdrawal from family and extracurricular activities
- Change in group of friends
- Unusual odor on breath (inhalant drugs)
- Secretive behavior
- Lying or stealing
- Slow or slurred speech (downers and depressants)
- Rapid, explosive speech (uppers)
- Unsteady gait (ataxia)
Early intervention may decrease the likelihood that drug use will continue in this population.
See: Drug abuse and dependence and drug abuse
Jenkins RR, Adger H. Substance abuse. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 113.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Preventing drug use among children and adolescents. NIH Publication No. 04-4212(B). 1997. Revised October 2003.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-
A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.