Debbie Moak, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, told Cronkite News in October that “parents are in the No. 1 position to influence whether their sons and daughters will use drugs or not use drugs.” Unexplained changes in the behavior could point to adolescent substance abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Adolescents who “act withdrawn, frequently tired or depressed, or hostile” could be developing a problem. According to NIDA, behavior to be mindful of includes:
● A change in peer group
● Carelessness with grooming
● Decline in academic performance
● Missing classes or skipping school
● Loss of interest in favorite activities
● Trouble in school or with the law
● Changes in eating or sleeping habits
● Deteriorating relationships with family members and friends.
NIDA recommends that parents seek help from professionals if their child is abusing drugs. The first step could be taking your child to the doctor for screening – for drugs or other health conditions. The agency also suggests contacting addiction specialists such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine or the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, each of which has a physician search feature on its website.