How To Tell If Your Teenager Is Doing Drugs And What To Do About It

The last thing you would like to imagine is having to deal with a teenager doing drugs. However, even with the right upbringing, more than 12 percent of teens abuse drugs with a further 30 percent turning to alcohol.

So what happens if you suspect that your 10th-grade son might be doing drugs?

How do you help them set another course towards a drug-free and responsible adulthood especially bearing in mind the facts that this category of drug users in six times more likely to suffer addiction later in life?

Ideally, the journey towards giving them a way out requires that you first prove that they abuse drugs and understand their reasons for drug use. From here you need to come up with an appropriate course of action such as whether to talk them out of it or involve a professional. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to go about the entire process.

How to tell whether your teenager is into drugs

Could you be confusing some radical adolescence behavior with possible drug use?

Before confronting your kid and accusing them of drug use, you first need to arm yourself with proof that they truly abuse drugs.

This may range from bouncing up on them while drunk or laying hands on their stash.

But they aren’t as ignorant to leave their cigarette or marijuana butts on the dressing table. You need to think of possible hiding places within the room where they can hide such drugs. In most cases, you will find them hidden:

  • Beneath or in between clothes in the drawers
  • Inside exhausted or fake makeup kits or medicine containers
  • In books with cut out pages
  • Under the bed
  • Backpacks

Note that depending on the level of addiction, and your strictness, some of these teenagers will adopt more advanced and ingenious strategies of hiding these drugs.

This may include leaving them with friends should they suspect that you were going through their belongings.

Additionally, your suspicions most probably result from specific behavioral changes popular with adolescents and drug abusing teenagers. These include:

  • Drastic change of friends
  • Deteriorating relationships with you or other close relatives
  • Missing classes and declining academic performances
  • Sudden loss of interest in personal grooming and other favorite activities
  • Declining health

While some of these behavioral changes may be construed as indicators of adolescence, the drug abuse behavioral changes will be more radical in most cases. Unlike puberty moods, you will also note a growing and deepening level of suspicion with your teenage kid, especially when around you, teachers or other authoritative superiors.

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They are abusing drugs

Even with your suspicions and apparent radical behavioral changes, you will still go through your kid’s room clinging to some hope that you find nothing.

In most cases, locating these drugs does more than confirming your suspicions. If you are like most parents, it instills doubts on your parenting capabilities, but do you have to blame yourself for your child’s mistakes?

No, you might even be one of the best in the world, a role model to other parents, but that won’t stop your child from experimenting with drugs.

Numerous teenagers with drug-addicted parents go through their teenage years and often adulthood without abusing drugs. This shows that it takes more than parenting skills to push teenager into drug abuse.

Therefore, before beating yourself up for your child’s irresponsible behaviors, take time to examine the different reasons that drive most teenagers to drugs while comparing each with your teenage son or daughter.

Bear in mind that identifying the immediate cause of the child’s rush to drug misuse is the sure path towards saving them from addiction and salvaging whatever future they have left.

Why do most teenagers turn to drugs?

Teenage years have been hailed by many as the most formative years where most people gain a deeper understanding of their personalities. As such, anything that has an impact on their personality and esteem can trigger sudden behavioral changes and push them to substance misuse.

Some of the most common triggers to drug abuse include:

Peer pressure

Peer influence ranks as the leading cause of drug and substance abuse, and therefore sudden changes in your child’s friends should be approached cautiously.

In most cases, it all starts with phrases like “it’s just weed” and “no one will know if you don’t tell” and soon your 12th grader is regularly sleeping out and attending more parties more than usual, especially along new friends of questionable characters.

Note that while your kid may not drift towards substance abuse at first, the desire to belong and fit within certain circles of friends makes saying “no” hard. Before they know it, addiction kicks in.

To feel mature

During adolescence, most teenagers don’t just demand that they be treated like adults but also want to act like adults.

No wonder most turn to alcohol and other hard drugs to prove their maturity. However, unlike most adults who understand the limits past which they can’t push their bodies, most of these young ones believe they can handle anything.

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Even though you may tend to look the other way and view this as an experimenting phase that your teen will eventually get past, you need to step in before he overestimates his maturity at the expense of his vulnerability.


Teens with low self-esteem also tend to turn to alcohol and other substances to feel at per with their peers. Similarly, teens suffering fr6om emotional pains or hailing from conflicting families tend to self-medicate this depression with drugs or use them to mask out their current living condition.

Dealing with such a teenager

Did you know that more than 70 percent teenage drug abuse cases, when detected early can be solved through communication?

This communication should aim at helping these teens open up to you about their fears and challenges they may be going through in life. It works best if you have a history of opening up emotionally to one another.

For instance, while your teenage days and the modern life may seem completely different, sharing such information and ideas about coping with pressures of adolescence and how you dealt with them in your youth may help initiate the all-important conversation.

Remember that your kid is growing up and if their sudden changes in behavior stem from feelings of maturity, start addressing them like an adult they believe they have become.

This not only helps bring some level of understanding between the two of you, but it also helps boost their self-esteem helping them overcome common social challenges like the inability to say no that often push them towards substance abuse.

In other cases, especially in cases of addiction or previously strained relations between you and the kid, you might consider seeking professional help. This may range from counseling to rehabilitation. However, studies reveal that for the recovery to turn out fruitful with minimal chances of relapse, it is best that the choice for counseling or rehab comes from the teenager.

Bottom line

The worst mistake any parent can do in life is looking the other way while their child abuses drugs and wish out the abuse as a stage in life.

On the contrary, every parent should remain actively involved in their teen’s life guiding and helping them establish a base for their future.

Plus the sooner you step into their life and assist in treatment and eliminating this alcohol and drug abuse, the higher the chances of getting your kid back on the right track fast.