Signs of Drug Abuse
Share on Share on Share on

Signs of Drug Abuse

Signs of Drug AbuseDrug abuse has become one of the prominent challenges around the world. Often, family and friends are unaware of the dangerous habit that is developing in those they love most. At such instances, it becomes critical for all to understand the signs of drug abuse. Once we become aware of the signs of drug abuse, it will be easier to understand whether someone around you is on the verge of developing a regular habit. Once you are aware of the current issue, you will be able to do your best to get that person into recovery.

It is important to keep in mind that if your loved one shows any of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using drugs. The presence of some of these behaviors could be the product of stress. Others may be symptoms of depression or a host of other problems. Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if they occur in a cluster. A professional in the field of drug addiction treatment or a mental health professional may help them successfully overcome a crisis and develop more effective coping skills, often preventing further problems. The key when it comes to the signs of drug abuse is change. It is important to watch for any significant changes in your loved one’s physical appearance, personality, attitude or behavior.

Performance Signs of Drug Abuse

(indicators that are often, but not always specific to drug abuse)

  • excessive absenteeism or tardiness
  • lower productivity, lower grades in school
  • missed deadlines
  • excessive equipment breakdown because of poor maintenance
  • deteriorating work quality
  • poor morale
  • increased minor accidents, mistakes
  • multiple reports of theft, missing personal items by co-workers, classmates

Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse

(indicators that are often, but not always specific to drug abuse)

  • sudden change in attitude, work, or behavior- a new, “I don’t care attitude”
  • sudden deterioration of long friendships, relationships
  • "explosive" arguments and disagreements over small matters
  • frequent hangover symptoms
  • using drug culture jargon
  • secretive behavior
  • avoiding “straight” (non drug-users) co-workers or classmates
  • erratic behavior-forgetfulness-indecision
  • deterioration in personal appearance and hygiene
  • hyper-activity, constant toe or heel-tapping and/or "drumming" of fingers
  • easy excitability
  • restlessness, increased physical activity wearing of long-sleeved garments in very warm weather
  • new financial problems or frequent borrowing of money

Physical Signs of Drug Abuse

(indicators that are often, but not always specific to drug abuse)

  • small blood spots or bruises on skin
  • bloodshot or watery eyes
  • runny or irritated nose, irritating cough, sore throat
  • speech pattern changes, slurred speech, faster speech, slower speech
  • tremors or jitters
  • constant scratching of skin, "picking" at skin and hair on arms, etc.
  • poor coordination, tripping, spilling, bumping into things and other people
  • large or small (dilated) pupils
  • a faint skin odor- either sweet or acrid
  • easily fatigued or constantly fatigued
  • hyper-excitability

Paraphernalia Signs of Drug Abuse

(indicators that are often, but not always specific to drug abuse)

  • possession of hypodermic needles, balloons, aluminum foil wrappers, mirrors or flat metal, short straws, glass pipes, smoking pipes, capsules, vials, or folded paper envelopes, a cigarette lighter (or small butane torch) when carried by a known "non-smoker"

Drug Specific Signs of Drug Abuse:

  • Alcohol: Clumsiness; difficulty walking; slurred speech; sleepiness; poor judgment; dilated pupils; possession of a false ID card.
  • Depressants: (including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness; and contracted pupils.
  • Hallucinogens: 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: Needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing and sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite; contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light.
  • Inhalants: (Glues, aerosols, and 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; an unusual number of spray cans in the trash.
  • Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; a sweet burnt scent; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.
  • Stimulants: 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; dilated pupils; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.

Signs of Drug Abuse
Seeking Help For:
Describe the situation: