Articles: Signs of Youth Drug Use

Parents often ask us how they would know if their teenager was using drugs. It can be a difficult thing to ascertain because changes in moods, temper outbursts, changes in sleeping habits and changes in hobbies or other interests are common in teens. Although it can be difficult to tell why your child is acting differently, here are a few things to look for that might indicate drug use:

What To Look For: 

  • Negative changes in schoolwork, missing school or declining grades
  • Increased secrecy about possessions or activities
  • Use of incense, room deodorant or perfume (to hide smoke or chemical odors)
  • Subtle changes in conversations with friends (more secretive, using “code” language)
  • New friends
  • Change in clothing choices (such as a new fascination with clothes that highlight drug use)
  • Increase in borrowing money
  • Evidence of drug paraphernalia (such as pipes, rolling papers)

If you are concerned about your child and potential drug use, there are more resources at and You can also call LifeWorks NW at 503-645-9010.

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