Saturday, November 27, 2004

More signs of likely drug use

More signs of likely drug use

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Saturday, November 27, 2004 12:33 AM


Parents can ill afford not to remain vigilant in these times when drugs are everywhere.

Yesterday, we gave you some signs of drug use that you can look for in the home. Below are signs that will show up in school:

• sudden drop in grades

• cutting classes

• loss of interest in learning

• sleeping in class

• poor work performance

• not doing homework

• defiant of teacher and school authorities

• poor attitude toward sports and other extracurricular activities

• reduced memory and attention span

• forging class cards, failure to deliver notes from teachers, not informing you of teacher meetings, etc.

The above might be signs of problems other than drug abuse, but they are also seen when kids get into drugs.

You also need to pay attention to physical and emotional signs:

• the change of friends

• smell of alcohol

• unexplainable mood swings and behavior

• negative, argumentative and destructive

• confused or paranoid, anxious

• overreacts to criticism

• is rebellious

• no longer shares problems and feelings as he used to

• either overly tired or hyperactive

• drastic weight loss or gain

• unhappy and depressed

• cheats and steals

• always in need of money or has excessive amounts of money

• sloppy appearance

These signs are universally accepted as indicative of drug use. The more signs that are present, the greater are the chances that your teenager is using drugs.

If this is the case, you have a number of choices. You can choose to ignore them and pray that, by some miracle, they will go away and somehow everything will be all right.

Or you can tell yourself that it’s all part of growing up and he will pass through this phase without incurring very much damage.

If you choose any of these first two options, you do so at your own risk and that of your child. These are risks you would never take if you found traces of cancer or some other life-threatening disease in your child.

If you follow expert advice from therapists everywhere, you will move quickly. Time is of the essence. The first item on the agenda is to gather as much information as possible. Check out his friends, the school. Ask a lot of questions. Assume the worst and hope you’re wrong.

After doing this, confront your loved one gently and listen to what he has to say. Remember that you (his parents) are the last ones that he wants to know that he’s using drugs. So expect him to lie to you or, if he can’t do so because of the evidence you bring forth, expect him to minimize the extent of his drug use.

No matter what happens after you talk to him, you should consult someone who knows something about drug abuse and confer with him. Don’t take this matter lightly. If you miscalculate, the consequences for your loved one and your family could be great.

Once you get a realistic picture of what’s happening, you will be in a better position to do the right thing.


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