Detecting if a person is a drug abuser is not an easy task. The signs and symptoms of drug abuse, especially in the beginning stages, can be identical to those produced by conditions having nothing to do with drugs.

It is always necessary to exercise certain prudence before drawing conclusions. If you are too judgmental, you might only hurt the individuals especially if he is innocent. You may also lose his love and trust. Only after observing calmly and patiently one's behavior, appearance, and associations, may the observer pass judgment and act.

To detect a drug abuser one should observe the following signs:

  • neglect of personal appearance
  • diminished drive, lack of ambition
  • poor quality of school work
  • impaired communication skills
  • less care for the feelings of others, decrease in accustomed family warmth
  • pale face, red eyes, constriction or dilation of the pupils of the eyes, wearing sunglasses at inappropriate time, place and weather.
  • change from active to passive and withdrawn behavior.
  • secretive about money, disapperance of money, or valuables from the house
  • friends refusing to identify themselves or hanging up whenever the phone is answered.
  • overreaction to mild criticisms
  • smell of marijuana, sweatish odor, like a burned rope in the clothes or room, etc.
  • symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, muscular aches, insomnia, convulsions etc.
  • presence of:
    • butt from marijuana joint
    • holders (i.e., pipe clips) for the joint
    • leaves, seeds in pockets or lining
    • rolling papers pipes
    • cough syrup bottles, capsules, syringes, etc.
    • bottles of eyedrops to relieve red eyes
    • devices for hiding drugs like trash cans, softdrink bottles
  • presence of other pills like vallium, artane and other tranquilizers
  • presence of physician's prescription pad in blank form.
How To Prevent Drug And Substance Abuse

Adolescents by nature are energetic, adventurous, creative, sociable, and attention seekers. Without the use of drugs, young people can engage in wholesome, productive and satisfying activities, learn to relate effectively with others, accept and respect oneself for what he/she is, and cope up with problems besetting the youth.

The family exerts a strong influence on the children's lives. Children observe how their parents overcome stress everyday. This serves as their basis in hurdling problems which they will encounter later in life. Hence, parents should set an example by creating a warm and friendly atmosphere in the home, providing open lines of communication, listening and respecting feelings and opinions, and undertaking wholesome productive family projects and activities.

Enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations help control and prevent the supply of drugs. Activities like raids, seizures, arrests, prosecutions, interceptions and dismantling of drug trafficking networks are to be undertaken.

Collaboration and cooperation among the government and non-government agencies and civic/religious organizations can help the intensified, relevant and responsive programs against drug and substance abuse through:

  • Dissemination of information through the media and other channels of communication to reach the masses, thereby, making them aware of the dangers of drug and substance abuse.
  • Creation of youth groups, clubs and organizations to undertake worthwhile and wholesome activities that will keep them away from drugs.