3 Telltale Signs Your Kid Might Be on Drugs

3 Signs of drug abuse

With kids growing up, it is sometimes difficult to tell what is going on with them. Angsty behavior, breaking rules, mood swings and being defiant can all be normal parts of growing up. Most parents worry about their kids using drugs when they get into their teens. However, what is viewed as “growing pains” might just be a sign of potential drug use….

So how do you know the difference between teenage angst and the telltale signs of drug abuse?

There are three signs pointing to the fact that something is way off.

1. Strange Looking Eyes

Strange looking eyes is an easy sign to spot on someone who is intoxicated. It varies from substance to substance. For example, cocaine will cause dilated pupils while heroin will cause constricted pupils.

Pinpoint Pupils
Pin-Point Pupils
  • Constricted Pupils: Heroin, Oxycodone, Fentanyl and all other opiates cause what is referred to as pinpoint pupils. This is where the pupils become extremely constricted as shown in the picture to the right. If you notice this accompanied by sleepiness, itching, or slurred speech there is a strong possibility the person has used some form of opiate.
Dilated Pupils
Dilated Pupil
  • Dilated Pupils: Cocaine, Ecstasy, Amphetamine’s, LSD, Mushrooms and other hallucinogens will cause dilated pupils. All stimulants and hallucinogens will have this effect on the eyes. You may also notice jitteriness, hallucinations, paranoia, a tightened jaw, picking at the skin, inability to sleep, hyperactivity, or inability to sit still. Hallucinogens and stimulants can have varying effects, so read more of the effects of stimulants vs hallucinogens.
Red Eyes High
Red Eyes High
  • Red Eyes: Marijuana is really the main drug which causes this. While certain parents might think this is no big deal, they should be careful as groups who use marijuana usually include people who are experimenting with other substances.
Glossy Eyes
Glossy Eye
  • Glossy Eyes: This is caused primarily by marijuana, alcohol and benzodiazepines such as Xanax. Xanax and alcohol will both show similar signs slurred speech, loss of motor skills, acting ridiculous, mood swings and loss of memory.

2. Strong Smells

A strong smell of either perfume, cologne or a strange smell you can’t identify may be a sign. When someone smokes a drug whether it is heroin, marijuana or meth they will carry a strong smell. Many times, they will use cologne, perfume, or aerosol air fresheners to mask the smell. However, the smell of drugs is pungent and usually hard to mask. This leads them into over using a cover-up scent and smelling very strongly of the cover up the odor. This is a strong indication that something is awry and further prodding may be necessary whether it is a drug test or searching their room.

3. Secretive Behavior

3. Being secretive manifests in a few different ways. It could be avoiding interactions, especially when getting home from being somewhere else. You may hear them make up questionable stories about what they have been doing or what they are going out to do. You never meet anyone they hang out with and it seems deliberate. They keep things hidden or locked somewhere. As much as it seems wrong to invade someone’s privacy, if you suspect your kid is using drugs, you no longer have the luxury of allowing them to have a secret life. More people die each day and they could be in serious trouble. Search their room, take their phone and look through it. Upsetting them and possibly seeing something you don’t want to is better than getting a call that the unimaginable happened.

There are numerous resources to help parents teach their children about the dangers of drugs. Have you found out your kid is using? Then it is time to get them help. Call us today for free drug assessments and referrals.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.