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
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.