How to Spot Drug Abuse

This can be a particularly difficult situation to address for many people. Unfortunately for many, it is a bridge that must be crossed for the healing process to begin. If you are an individual who has little or no experience with this topic, you may want to pay close attention. Many of the symptoms of initial drug abuse can be interpreted as positive changes in character and behavior. If you suspect someone you know of using or abusing drugs I am going to outline a few of the indicators. This is in no way therapy or legal guidance it is simply a few of the things that I have learned over the years.


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    You must be aware of the different types of drugs and how the affect the persona. For example, stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine [to include prescription stimulants] are generally the most difficult to diagnose initially.
    • Stimulants may produce positive initial symptoms such as more complete and in-depth attention to homework, conversations, activities; as well as some negative symptoms such as chain smoking; insomnia; cold sweats; racing heartbeat; frequent sniffling
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    Watch for items that go missing. As stimulant abuse progresses symptoms devolve into missing items from the home, different set of friends that may call or come over late at night or on weeknights, shifty and shady behavior and staying out for more than an entire night at a time.
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    Notice a sudden desire for more privacy. Other symptoms to look out for are the sudden need for more privacy, creating ambient noise to mask drug use sounds, etc.
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    Pay attention to physical conditions. Abuse of opiates and prescription painkillers causes lethargy, rolling eyes. If you have ever picked up a totally relaxed sleeping puppy, opiates do a very similar thing to the human body.


  • REMOVE them from ALL contacts you suspect of being connected from that behavior. NO EXCEPTIONS! There is no other way to completely move on and recover.
  • Once the withdrawal has passed make them be active and pursue activities that takes the mind off this subject as many things are triggers for drug abusers.
  • Many people cannot stop this without help or intervention so BE THAT PERSON. They will ultimately thank you.
  • Have sympathy for the withdrawal period if they are serious abusers. They will probably make you miserable; but you need to be there for them at this time
  • Many people need to heed the signs of drug abuse and quit telling themselves that nothing is wrong with friend/family member.


  • Be ready to forgive and move on. Dwelling and reminding is not a positive methodology for dealing with recovering/recovered drug abusers.
  • Be prepared for some very difficult situations as there is NO easy way through drug abuse.
  • Seek medical help if you think you cannot handle a serious drug abuser. They can be very unpredictable and even violent.

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Categories: Smoking Addictions