The use of drugs among 8th to 12th graders is on the decline, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); however, roughly one in five 12th graders admitted to using marijuana within the last month in a survey conducted by the NIDA.
As a parent, you naturally don’t want your teen to be using drugs; even though attitudes about marijuana are changing, in most states, it’s still illegal. Being caught with marijuana by law enforcement could put your child’s future in serious jeopardy.
But how can you tell if your teen is involved with drugs? Here are some warning signs to look for:
- Use of Redness Relief Eye Drops. Marijuana frequently causes bloodshot eyes, and many teens will purchase Visine or other eye drops to try and hide the side effect.
- Complaints about Dry Mouth or Excessive Thirst. Most marijuana users experience “cotton mouth” or dry mouth. Your teen may drink a lot of water or liquids or constantly be saying his or her mouth is dry.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. It’s not enough to just look for joints in your child’s room. Many teens today get high with a device called a vaporizer pen, rather than by smoking marijuana. Also called a vapor pen or vape pen, this device is long and slender like a writing pen, but it features a mouthpiece on one end, and a battery on the other. Keep in mind that vaporizer pens can also be used as electronic cigarettes; finding one may indicate that your teen is vaping nicotine fluids, not marijuana. You should also look for items like herb grinders, scales, empty baggies, and small glass jars. To see what a vapor pen or vape pen looks like, click here.
- Smell. Marijuana has a very distinctive odor that is difficult to cover up, even with body spray or perfume. Some people describe the scent as similar to burnt tomatoes or leaves. If you detect it on your teen, he or she has at least been around someone who was using marijuana, even if he or she wasn’t.
- Spending Habits. If your child is constantly without money, he or she might be using drugs. Of course, teenagers spend money on all sorts of frivolous things, so this sign is more convincing if it’s combined with other things.
While all of these warning signs could indicate that your child is using marijuana, none of them are smoking guns. If you suspect that your teen is using a vape pen for marijuana or smoking pot, it’s important to approach him or her without making accusations. Be calm and rational in your conversation, but remember, you’re the parent in the relationship. Make sure your teenager understands and respects your rules regarding drug use, and if necessary, seek help if you believe he or she is addicted to marijuana.
References: empoweringparents.com | drugabuse.gov