Know the signs
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Sure, there’s plenty of drama with teens whether they’re taking drugs or not. But the key to identifying drug use is to look for abrupt or conspicuous changes in your teen’s behavior. Listen to your instincts. If something worries you, talk about it with your spouse or partner, a trusted teacher or coach, or anyone who cares for your child. Two heads are always better than one, and sharing your worries will make you more confident and able to make an effective plan for helping your teen. Although drug use has plateaued among teenagers overall, 46 percent of high school seniors have been drunk, 44 percent have smoked marijuana or hashish, and 8 percent have tried narcotics. Of course, if it’s your teen who has a problem, the rate in your house is 100 percent, so depending on what you see, you may need to act very quickly to prevent a tragedy. Here are secrets that substance abuse counselors wish you knew.
Your teen seems more drowsy or excited than usual
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Emotional ups and downs are part of life, for teenagers more than most people. However, behaviors like falling asleep at the dinner table or habitually taking long naps after school are not the result of sleepiness from staying up late. Conversely, if your teenager can’t relax after a long day, or is jittery for no apparent reason, you might suspect drug use. Here’s where you can take action. Whether it’s excessive fatigue, agitation, or both, you can use such conditions as your reason to get your teenager to a clinician. This one phone call changed an addict’s life—and her story will change yours.