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How to know if someone is using drugs

A mother hearing all the stories of school kids using drugs in school is concerned her may also be using. She asks if he is using, which he most likely denies. She waits for him to go to school to grow through his stuff.

It is much easier in movies to know if someone is using drugs. He is usually depicted as an unkempt, out-of-a-job, person begging for money (to go buy more drugs). This is not always the case in real life.

There are however, some tell tales that someone might be using drugs. This are not definite signs as some may just be the regular teenage behavioral changes or another problem all together.

Drugs affect people differently and this is based on the drug, the person and the circumstances. Some effects are specific to some drugs. The list below is general to most drugs. Note that not all these signs must be present.

  • Trembling and twitching
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Increase or decrease in weight
  • pinpoint or enlarged pupils
  • Marks on skin like cuts or injections
  • Frequent runny nose
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Unkempt look
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Presence of drug paraphernalia
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Change in friends or problems with friends
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Neglect of responsibilities
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Problems with law enforcement
  • Change in hobbies
  • Problems with finances
  • Secretive behavior
  • Drop in work/school performance

Remember, the presence of any of these signs does not mean your loved one is using drugs. Not every one who uses drugs suffers from addiction. So what next?

  • Stay calm
  • Dig deeper, it might be something else going on
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Have an open discussion with your loved one
  • If they are using, seek the help of a professional

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Ekwoge Hilda

Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.

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