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59 Warning Signs of Drug Abuse Parents Need to Know

Homeschoolers are not immune from the parenting woes the rest of society is facing. Our children live in the real world, no matter how much we love them and shelter them. And in the real world, drug overdoses are increasing, with deaths from drug use surging. As a nurse, I've seen wonderful parents suffer consequences when their head was in the sand, though. Wishful thinking and prayer can't prevent bad choices - kids can still make their own decisions.

Let's consider one of the most challenging aspects of parenting today. What symptoms should parents look for that indicate drug use?

           1. Finding drug paraphernalia (which may include pipes, rolling papers, needles, bottles, unusual containers, eye drops, butane lighters, smoking devices, cut up straws, mirrors, Ziploc bags, tin foil, weighing scales, balloons, aluminum foil wrappers, vials, capsules, etc.) or drug residue or remains (for example seeds, stems, powder, or strange-looking cigarettes)

2. Accidents or injuries

3. Acting secretive

4. Appetite changes

5. Avoiding eye contact

6. Becoming defiant, uncooperative, hostile

7. Being fearful or paranoid for no apparent reason

8. Being unusually loud and obnoxious

9. Bloodshot eyes

10. Bruises, cuts, and sores (caused by falling, bumping into things, or scratching self)

11. Burns on fingers or lips (from joints or burning)

12. Changing friends or social circles

13. Complaints from teachers, classmates, or others

14. Constant scratching (a common sign of opiate use)

15. Constipation

16. Coordination problems

17. Decreased interest in activities and hobbies

18. Decreased motivation in school or activities

19. Excessive thirst ("cottonmouth" is often a result of marijuana use)

20. Extreme highs and lows

21. Finding hidden stashes of drugs or alcohol or drug making paraphernalia

22. Frequent illness

23. Frequent mood swings or emotional instability

24. Getting into conflicts or having trouble with schoolwork

25. Headaches

26. Increased illegal activity or behavior

27. Isolating themselves from friends or family

28. Lack of respect for authority

29. Laughing for no apparent reason

30. Lethargy or low energy

31. Manipulative or deceitful behavior

32. Memory problems

33. Missing cash or other valuables from your home (which may be pawned for drugs)

34. Missing medications, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

35. Missing school assignments or extracurricular activities

36. Nausea and vomiting

37. Newfound demand for privacy

38. Nosebleeds (may occur from snorting or drugs like cocaine

39. Periods of drowsiness followed by periods of high energy

40. Pinpoint pupils (a common sign of opiate use)

41. Poor academic performance

42. Poor concentration

43. Poor coordination

44. Poor hygiene

45. Runny nose

46. Seizures (if no history of a seizure disorder)

47. Shakes or tremors

48. Sleep disturbances

49. Slurred or rapid-fire speech

50. Smelling like drugs, alcohol, or unusual odors

51. Smelling strong incense or perfumes in their room (to hide the smell of drugs)

52. Sudden weight loss or gain

53. Sweating

54. Teeth clenching

55. Track marks on arms or legs from intravenous drug use

56. Unexplained changes in attitude or personality

57. Unexplained disappearances for significant periods of time

58. Violating curfew and ignoring rules

59. Wearing long sleeves even in the summer (to cover up track marks)

Having some symptoms does not mean your child is addicted to drugs. There can be circumstances beyond your teens control. Perhaps a friend has left some drug paraphernalia in a car, or they were loaned or purchased used equipment that had hidden drug paraphernalia in it.

Still, as parents, it would be negligent if we didn't do our due diligence. So here is what you need to do.

1. Understand what to look for using this list of symptoms.

2. Observe your child intentionally, without discounting the possibility of drug use.

3. Ask your child open-ended questions and start a conversation.

4. Seek help if needed, starting with your pediatrician.

Even good homeschool parents can have a child that makes poor life choices. Don't beat yourself up! Even perfect parents can't guarantee that a child will always make good choices. Instead, starting now, open your eyes. Make changes if you identify a problem.

 

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Saturday, 23 March 2019
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