Is my child misusing drugs?
Physical: Does he always seem tired, or complain about being tired? Is his general health poor? Do his eyes appear red or lifeless? Does he have a nagging cough?
Emotional: Does he suffer from sudden mood swings? Is his behaviour irrational or irresponsible? Does he have a low opinion of himself? Is he depressed? Does he appear dissinterested and lonely?
Family: Does he cause disharmony within the family unit? Does he disobay family rules? Do you get a sense that he is detached or aloof from the rest of the family?
School: Has his standard of work at school deteriorated recently? Does he mitch from school? Are there disciplinery issues between him and his teachers?
Social problems: Do his new friends show a general lack of respect towards normal home and school activities? Has he encoutered problems with the police? Is his taste in clothes and music suddenly unconventional?
These warning signs, however, can also be signs of other problems.
If you are concerned that your child is misusing drugs (or alcohol, or any other substance or behaviour), why not get a doctor to examine him in order to rule out any physical causes. A sensible follow up would be for him to be seen by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
Remember that, as a parent or guardian, the best, most effective way to show care and concern for your child is to engage him in an honest and open discussion about the use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs.
(We have referred to your child in the masculine form for convenience only and for no other reason.)