Signs & Symptoms of Substance Abuse


  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Fatigue, lethargy or loss of vitality
  • Extremes of appetite
  • Swings from hyperactivity to sluggishness
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Frequent physical complaints or injuries
  • Persistent cough
  • Frequent headaches or nausea
  • Excessive aspirin use


  • Lack of emotion, persistent apathy
  • Unpredictable responses to you
  • Defiance or aggressiveness
  • Frequent periods of withdrawal and solitude
  • Abandonment of plans or goals for the future


  • Losing motivation or interest in doing well
  • Drop in grades
  • Extracurricular activities abandoned
  • Often late or absent from school
  • Falling behind on class work
  • Suspended or expelled from school


  • Drug-oriented graffiti on notebooks or clothes
  • Poor memory
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Increasing irresponsibility about doing chores, getting home on time or following instructions
  • Borrowing of large sums of money without repayment; inability to account for spending
  • Complaints or comments from neighbors, friends or relatives about child’s behavior or attitude
  • Attempts to discipline are challenges or ignored
  • Clashes with the law
  • Argumentative attitude
  • Physical violence
  • Change in cleanliness or habits of dress


  • Most friends use drugs and/or alcohol
  • Believes that kids who use drugs or alcohol are more popular than those who do not
  • Has recently changed crowds or dropped childhood friends and no longer allows you to meet new friends who call on the phone but do not come around. If they do come around they are disrespectful toward you or your house, viewing it as merely a place for a pit stop
  • Frequent fights or arguments with friends