- How do I keep my child from using illegal substances?
Research shows that students who are highly involved with the family, community, and/or school activities are less likely to use illegal substances.
It is important for parents to know their student’s friends and the parents of those friends. Communication with the friends and families is very important. Know the location of your child.
- What are the most commonly abused substances among teens?
Most students get alcohol from the home. Alcoholic beverages should be kept in a safe place where your child and/or their friends do not have easy access.
Most teens get prescription medications from home as well. Medications, both over the counter and prescription, should be kept in a safe place where your child and/or their friends do not have easy access. Dispose of unused medications safely and responsively through the National Take Back Drugs days
The best advice we have in this area is, again, know and communicate with their friends and the parents of their friends.
- What are possible signs and symptoms of alcohol and/or drug use? (These signs may be indicative of other illnesses/concerns.)
Strong or unusual odor
Strong scent attempting to cover an odor
Red or watery eyes
Falling asleep in class
Lack of affect (appears spaced out or zoned out)
Chronic or hacking cough
Change in appearance (i.e. significant weight gain or loss)
Forgetful, slowed reaction time, loses train of thought
Unexplained lethargy and/or hyperactivity and agitation
Changes in attendance/increased tardies/absences
Drop in grades
Drop in performance
Resentment of authority, hostility towards staff members
Changes in personality (mood and attitude)
Legal problems (MIP, theft, vandalism)
Known drug problems in friends
Rage or aggression
Reduced motivation and interest in activities
Any references to drugs/alcohol in assignments or projects
- What should I do if I suspect that my child is using illegal substances?
Talk with your child. Let them know how much you love and care for them, but let them know you’re concerned about their health and safety. Tell them you suspect drug or alcohol use and ask them what they are using. If you feel that your child is in denial, follow your ‘gut’ feeling. You may choose to do a drug test. Most local pharmacies carry drug test kits. Contact your campus assistant principal, counselor or resource officer. Please keep in mind that this information will remain confidential.
Contact your school counselor. You may also choose to consult a health care professional.