Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) for parents.
What is substance abuse?
The physical and/ or emotional dependence on a legal or illegal substance.
What are the warning signs and symptoms?
1. Neglecting appearance and hygiene
2. Negative change in grades and school attendance, truant, (or work)
3. Change in or disinterest in hobbies, drops out extracurricular activities
4. Change in friends and socializing activities
5. Disobeying family rules and curfews
6. Missing pills from prescription drug bottles in the house
7. Unwillingness to talk to anyone when they get home
8. Increased privacy, solitary i.e. Goes straight to room, and locks the door
9. Needing money more often, borrowing money
10. Valuables missing, yours or theirs
11. Having items that don’t belong to them, or selling own items
12. Stealing , sneaking around
13. Change in sleeping habits, i.e. sleeps a lot or through the day
14. Reckless behavior
15. Manipulative, lying, and deceptive behaviors
16. Struggles with peer pressure
17. Has drug paraphernalia
1. Increased frequency of anger and angry outbursts, or violence, disrespectful
2. Poor self image
3. Disinterest in school and achievements, “I don’t care “ attitude
4. “Leave me alone” attitude
6. Don’t care about their future
7. Don’t care about others
8. Doesn’t care about consequences or rules
10. Lacks motivation
11. Anxious, paranoid
12. Irritable, mood swings
13. Seeks pain medication
1. Chemical breath
2. Withdrawn, change in natural skin tone
3. Fidgety, agitated, can’t sit still
4. Change in eating habits and sudden weight loss
5. Change in sleeping habits, sleeps a lot or not at all
6. Dry mouth- drinks more frequently, while lack of appetite
7. Glassy eyes, very small pupils
8. Slurred speech
9. Clammy skin, overly dry skin or sweating a lot
10. Black and blue marks, many cuts
11. Frequent stomach or head aches
12. Uses cologne, perfumes to hide scent, mouth wash, or other
If I notice many of these signs, what should I do first?
Ask them!!! Sometimes it’s a great relief to not have to hide it anymore, and either way it says: “I care and I’m paying attention.” You know your children best, trust your instincts, if you feel that something is wrong, it probably is. If at all suspicious, check it out. You can always apologize and may gain a renewed sense of trust with your child or family member.
What are the symptoms of withdrawal?
1. Nausea, vomiting
2. Dizzy, lack of balance, confused (May appear drunk)
4. Violent , angry outbursts
6. Lack of appetite
8. Lack of concentration
9. Bone and muscle aches
11. Hot and cold flashes
13. Cold, clammy skin
If someone is suffering from symptoms of withdrawal, and there are no other medical concerns, what should I do?
Get them to a detox.
What are the symptoms of overdose?
All of the symptoms of withdrawal (see above) plus …
1. Slow breathing (less than ten breaths a minute is really serious trouble)
2. Small, pinpoint pupils
3. Being very tired, nodding off, or passing out
4. Apathy (they don’t care about anything)
What should I do if someone is suffering from symptoms of overdose?
Call 911 – EMS or get them to a hospital emergency room. Do not let them try to sleep it off. Always check for a combination of drugs ingested.
Remember: Parental and familial awareness is the most important and significant factor that can change and save an individual’s life, their choices and their desire to change.
What can families do?
1. Don’t leave prescriptions in medicine cabinet, throw away old prescriptions.
2. Make sure that prescriptions are not left out in family members homes, or friend’s homes.
3. If children are prescribed medication. Do not give them the bottle to take with them. Ask them to take their medication in front of you
4. Don’t leave Alcohol accessible to youth