Dauphin County Drug & Alcohol Services: CALL  1 (717) 635-2254
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Physical, Behavioral, and Psychological Warning Signs


- Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual

- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns

- Sudden weight loss or weight gain

- Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits

- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing

- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination



- Drop in attendance and performance at work or school

- Unexplained financial problems; borrowing or stealing

- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors

- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies

- Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)



- Unexplained change in personality or attitude

- Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts

- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness

- Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”

- Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid

- Warning signs of commonly used drugs

Drug-Specific Warning Signs

Marijuana (Weed): Glassy, red eyes, loud talking, excessive laughter, sleepiness, lack of interest and motivation, weight gain or loss.


Stimulants (Cocaine, Crystal Meth): Dilated pupils; hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.


Inhalants (Glues, Aerosols, Vapors): Watery eyes; impaired vision, memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; lots of cans/aerosols in the trash.


Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP): Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.


Heroin: Contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light; needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing, sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite, used cotton balls, spoons, small bags lying around.


Opioid Painkillers (Oxycontin, Vicodin, Norco): Drooping eyes, constricted pupils even in dim light, sudden itching or flushing, slurred speech; drowsiness, lack of energy; inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, decline in performance at work or school; neglecting friendships and social activities.


Anti-Anxiety (Sedatives, Xanax, Valium, Ambien): Contracted pupils; drunk-like, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness; poor judgment, drowsiness, slowed breathing.


Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, Concerta: Dilated pupils, reduced appetite; agitation, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature; insomnia, paranoia.

Common Signs and Symptoms That

You May Be Experiencing Drug Abuse

  • Neglecting responsibilities

  • Using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high such as driving

  • Having legal trouble

  • Problems in relationships

Common Signs and Symptoms

You May Have a Substance Use Disorder

  • You’ve built up a tolerance

  • You use to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms

  • You lose control of drug use and your life revolves around it

  • You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy

  • You know drugs are hurting you, but you continue use anyway


  • Attempt to punish, threaten, bribe, or preach.

  • Try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals because that may only increase guilt and the compulsion to use drugs.

  • Cover up or make excuses for the drug abuser.

  • Shield them from the consequences of their behavior.

  • Take over their responsibilities, leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity.

  • Argue with the person when they are high.

  • Use drugs with them.

  • Feel guilty or responsible for another’s behavior.

For more information on warnings signs, click here.

recovery is possible!