How to Detect Drug Abusing Teenagers

The effects of substance abuse in teens are not only individual; they can also be seen on the society. They may face problems at school or college and may involve in criminal activities. It is therefore very important to detect drug abusing teenagers. Drug testing should be conducted on a regular basis at schools and homes to identify and save them from harmful drugs of abuse.

Signs of drug abuse
Identifying certain signs helps you to detect if the kid is addicted to the drugs. Some of the common physical and emotional signs are:

• Change in sleep patterns
• Poor motor coordination
• Poor hygiene and illness including nausea and excessive sweating
• Irregular heartbeat
• Impaired thinking
• Mood swings
• Hyperactivity or overtired
• Depression

Drug abusing teens lose their interest in family activities, often abuse verbally and physically at home or school, and disrespect the family or school. In addition, abrupt decrease in grades, memory and attention loss, and lack of interest and concentration on studies are some of the signs at school. The moment you observe any of the above mentioned signs, you need to immediately check if the kid is abusing drugs. Drug testing is one of the safest and easiest ways to detect the drug abuse among teens.

Types of drug tests
There are different types of methods to detect the teens who are using drugs. Some of the common ones are urine, saliva, hair, and blood tests.

Urine drug test
Of all the types, urine testing is used most commonly as it is inexpensive method used to detect a drug user. You can use urine test kits at home or school to check if the child is addicted to illegal drugs. Quick and accurate results are obtained by these test kits.

Saliva drug test
It is more advantageous as it is relatively non-intrusive. Saliva from the mouth is taken through a swab and is checked for the presence of drugs. Most recent drug abuse can be detected by saliva tests. Conducting saliva test is very easy and also provides accurate and immediate results.

Hair drug test
This method is also non-intrusive. A hair sample of 1.5 inches in length is enough for conducting the test. Drug or its metabolites deposited at the hair shaft are detected by hair tests. You can get very reliable and accurate results by this method.

Blood drug test
You can also use a blood sample of the teen to detect illegal drug usage. It is however expensive and you need to approach laboratory as you cannot conduct it at your home.

Detection periods
The detection period depends on the method of test conducted. These detection periods vary from the type, dosage, and frequency of drug used.

Urine drug test can detect drug or its metabolites for 30 days in frequent users and for 2-3 days in occasional users. The test detects Cocaine for 4-5 days, Heroin for 2-4 days, Methamphetamine for 3-5 days, PCP for 3-7 days, and Codeine for 2-4 days.

A saliva test is mostly used to detect recent drug usage. However, it can also detect drugs consumed 3 days back. Of all the methods, hair drug test has a longer detection period. It detects illegal drug consumption for about 90 days.

What if results are positive?
Once the kid is tested positive by drug test kit, talk to him/her about the result. You can get a confirmatory result through laboratory tests. Communicate with him regularly regarding the effects of drug abuse. Ask him to leave companions or friends who are habituated to drugs. If necessary, send him/her to substance abuse treatment program.

Importance of intervention
Detection and intervention of drug abuse at primitive stages can prevent further damage. Drug intervention is an attempt made by family members or school authorities to help the teen get out of drug abuse or addiction. The main objective of intervention is to make the teen understand the physical and mental destruction caused by drug abuse. If you are not able to speak to the kid on this, you can take help of your friends or relatives. You can also consult specialists who counsel drug abusers and help them get back to their normal life.

Parents and school authorities should always keep an eye on the behavior and activities of the teens. Necessary measures have to be taken in order to prevent them from taking drugs.

Thoughts on Preventing Drug Abuse

Prevention of substance abuse is a complex issue. The best approach is proactive drug education. There is also a need for intense parent child interaction. Motivation to use stems from social and emotional issues, most are identifiable at a young age. Peer pressure, isolation, boredom, lack of parental involvement,and depression, leads to substance abuse. The teen years are the most vulnerable. During this time exposure to social and emotional situations, requiring coping skills are experienced. The lack of proper coping skills leads to low self-esteem, weakened resistance to peer pressure, isolation, boredom, and depression. Isolation is a warning sign for high risk of substance abuse.

Low self -esteem, brought about by ridicule from peers and family weakens resistance to substance abuse. Teens have a tendency to be cruel. This cruelty leads to low self-esteem and isolation, which in turn leads to substance abuse. Communication and involvement in the child’s activity is the first step in preventing drug abuse. Positive reinforcement improves self-esteem. Be aware of the Child’s peers. Are they rebellious, troublemakers, drug users? Stay involved; participate in sports and after school activities. Prevention starts at home. This is best time to have a positive influence. It is not an easy task, so do not hesitate to seek professional help if drug use is suspected.

Traumatic events such as divorce and the loss of a loved one is a catalyst for drug abuse. A child can be confused and lonely during such periods. The need for adult guidance during these periods cannot be understated. Divorce can confuse a child. Their entire world is changed. The change and uncertainty can cause terrible pain and sadness that lasts for years. Counseling might necessary. If not addressed, the chance of the child turning to substance abuse is possible. The loss of a loved one causes immense pain in adults. It is worse in children. Especially if the loved one is a parent or sibling. Addressing the Child’s grief is important. Grieving is a process. Children do not understand grief. Consultation with a grief counselor is often required.

If a loved one has progressed to using drugs. It can be painful and frustrating. The important thing is communication. Confusion, depression, and denial are problems when confronting substance abusers. Confusion about the future, depression from personal issues and denial about the drug problem are obstacles to communication. Breaking the cycle of use is important. Rehab or intervention should be a consideration. Until achieving sobriety, the user will not be receptive to recovery. Inside every addict, there is a desire to quit. Until they acknowledge this desire, it is useless to attempt recovery. Forcing someone to quit against his or her will is futile. This will Cause anger, resentment, and alienation, pushing them deeper into addiction.

Most addicts wait until they reach rock bottom to seek recovery. Their lives spin out of control. Then they become receptive to the idea of recovery. They realize the damage done and what the future holds if they continue. This is the best time talk about recovery. Do not enable them, it is the quickest way to get them to rock bottom. Practicing tough love is difficult, but when a loved one is in active addiction, it’s the most effective way to drive them to recovery. The enabler thinks they are helping the addict, when in fact; it is prolonging the active addiction.

When the judicial system becomes involved in the addict’s life, the addict is near rock bottom. Some people take it as a chance to get clean. Others continue getting high and breaking the law. Those that decide to get clean can utilize the counseling offered by the system. The users that continue to use and break the law end up with extensive criminal records. This limits their ability to find jobs and homes. Forcing them back into criminal activity for money, starting another vicious cycle