Changes in Teen Behavior May Be a Sign of Drugs or Alcohol

clip_image002[2] (59 x 72)It’s no secret that adolescents will be presented with the temptations of drugs or alcohol in their young lives. By the age of 15, one out of every two teens will have had at least one drink ; more than 60 percent of teens have said that drugs were sold, used or kept at their school; and one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

Knowing what to look for is a huge help in determining whether your child is drinking or using drugs. If you’re familiar with the signs of drug use, that knowledge can aid you in gathering evidence and starting the conversation. Many of these signs of drug use or alcohol use – in isolation – may be just normal teen behavior. Mood swings or changes in behavior are a standard part of growing up as teens make the transition from childhood to adulthood. However, as you start to recognize more and more of these signs and symptoms in your teen, a picture of drug or alcohol use may begin to become clear.

Below are a few signs and symptoms related to adolescent alcohol and/or drug use to consider. Look out for:

Behavioral changes such as being unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination; hostility or anger; decreased motivation; loud or obnoxious behavior; being deceitful or secretive.

Personal appearance changes such as an unusually messy, careless appearance; red, flushed cheeks or face, poor hygiene; or burns or soot on fingers or lips.

Personal habit changes including smell of smoke on the breath or clothes; avoiding eye contact; secretive phone calls; heavy use of over-the-counter preparations to reduce things like eye reddening (eye drops); nasal irritation; or bad breath.

School or work changes including truancy or loss of interest in schoolwork; a drop in grades; or failure to fulfill responsibilities at work or school.

TurnAround is offered to parents who have reached the point where they are concerned that their child may be using drugs but are not able to prove it. The purpose of the program, which is offered by the Talbot County Health Department Addictions Program office, is to provide a confidential drug screening by an experienced adolescent substance abuse counselor. With the increasing risks from drug abuse, it’s important for parents and guardians to know if their child is involved in drugs. Once the drug test and screening are completed, the counselor will contact the parents to evaluate the results and make a recommendation.

Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention advises that what many drug users apparently do not comprehend is that continuous, long-term drug abuse quite easily can become drug dependency. It is therefore important for parents to take steps early to protect their children.

For further information, parents can contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067 or TurnAround direct at 410-819-5600. Please also visit our website at or find us on Facebook.