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A resource to start the conversation
about drug use and abuse.
Signs of Drug Use

.::: Has your child changed?

Noticeable changes in your child's appearance,
behaviour, personality and attitude could be caused by drug or alcohol use.

Parents usually know their kids better than anyone else, so you might see things that others miss. You might notice changes in your child's mood, friends, sleeping patterns or the way they look or dress.

There might be physical clues, such as:

  • A coloured pill you find in a pocket as you're doing laundry.
  • Rolling papers or a small baggie containing leafy residue.
  • A small shoulder bag that your child suddenly carries everywhere.
  • Eye drops, breath spray or a lighter.
  • Pipes, bongs or a pop can with a strange residue.

Or sometimes things go missing without explanation, such as:

  • Money from your purse or wallet.
  • Alcohol or medicines from your medicine cabinet.
  • MP3 players, a laptop or a cell phone.
  • And sometimes there aren't any obvious signs; you just sense something isn't right.
Signs of Drug Use

Taking action

Create a time and place to talk to your child. You might be relieved to learn that they aren't using drugs or alcohol. Or you might find out that they are.

If your child admits using drugs or alcohol, take action. Thank them for their honesty, then take the opportunity to talk about the dangers and risks of drug and alcohol use.

Dealing with the issue head-on makes it clear to children that:

  • You love them and you care about their safety.
  • Alcohol and drug use is dangerous.
  • Possession of drugs is illegal, and the consequences of having or selling drugs can affect them for a lifetime.
  • Alcohol and drugs can be addictive, that using them at a young age increases the chance of addiction.
  • They might find themselves in dangerous situations and environments.

Getting help

The situation won't change overnight. If there's a drug or alcohol issue in your family:

  • Take small steps and work together as a family to resolve the problem.
  • Turn to your friends and family for support.
  • Reach out to services and treatment agencies in your community for information.
    Get help if the steps above don't work.

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Revised: April 22, 2016

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