Drug signs and teenagers

Alternative names
Teenagers and drugs


Although some surveys suggest that drug use in teens has decreased since 2001, the numbers are still quite high. Over 17% of high school students admit use of illegal drugs within one month of when they were asked and more than 40% of those over 12 years old say that they have tried an illegal substance at least once in their lifetimes.

Some signs of possible drug use may include:

  • Bloodshot eyes  
  • Persistent cough  
  • Pupils of eyes extremely big (dilated) or extremely small (pinpoint)  
  • Loss of appetite (as in the case with amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine)  
  • Increased appetite (as in the case with marijuana)  
  • Sluggishness, listlessness or constant sleeping (opiate drugs such as heroine, codeine. Or may occur when coming down off stimulant drugs)  
  • Hyperactivity (as seen with ‘uppers’ such as cocaine, methamphetamines)  
  • Poor school performance and increased school absenteeism  
  • Withdrawal from family and extracurricular activities  
  • Change in group of friends  
  • Unusual odor on breath (inhalant drugs)  
  • Secretive behavior  
  • Lying or stealing  
  • Slow or slurred speech (downers and depressants)  
  • Rapid, explosive speech (uppers)  
  • Unsteady gait (ataxia)

Early intervention may decrease the likelihood that drug use will continue in this population. See drug abuse and dependence and drug abuse.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

Medical Encyclopedia

  A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 0-9

All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.