What are the Common Warning Signs of Drug Use?

The warning signs of drug use can vary depending on the drug being abused. However, there are several warning signs and symptoms that are the same for every drug. These warning signs and symptoms of drug use include the following:

  • A change in the quality or productivity of an individual’s work or school performance
  • Mood or attitude changes, including verbal or physical outbursts
  • Paranoia or confusion
  • An inability to accept responsibility for themselves or their actions
  • Reluctance to be around family and friends
  • Changes in appearance and personal hygiene
  • Associating with drug users
  • Frequent borrowing of money or the constant need for money
  • Suspicious, secretive behavior

As well as these general signs of drug abuse, there are other signs that may help to pinpoint the type of drug an individual is abusing. These signs are specific to certain substances:

Signs of Alcohol Use

  • The smell of alcohol on a person’s breath or skin
  • Apparent intoxication
  • Glazed eyes that have trouble focusing
  • Extremely passive or, alternately, extremely argumentative behavior
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Changes in job or academic performance
  • Increased absence from work or school
  • Memory loss
  • A fixation with drinking at social gatherings
  • Problems with their relationships among family members and friends
  • Increased Clumsiness, or difficulty in coordination
  • Slurred speech

Signs of Depressant Use (such as Valium or Xanax)

  • Acting intoxicated but not smelling of alcohol
  • A lack of facial expressions
  • Acting passive
  • Slurred speech without the associated smell of alcohol

Signs of Hallucinogenic Use (such as LSD, Magic Mushrooms, or PCP)

  • Large, dilated pupils
  • Warm, feverish skin
  • Sweating and associated body odor
  • Detachment from family, friends, and others
  • Fascination with self or inanimate objects
  • Slurred speech without the associated smell of alcohol
  • Acting confused
  • Mood or behavioral changes

Signs of Marijuana Use

  • Attacks of laughter
  • Sleepiness
  • Hunger
  • Forgetfulness
  • Glassy, bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of marijuana on their breath, hair, or clothing
  • Slow response time

Signs of Opiate Use (such as Opium or Heroin)

  • Drowsiness
  • Pupils are constricted and do not respond to light change
  • Red, raw nostrils from snorting powdered opiates
  • Bruises and scars on arms or other body parts from injecting opiates
  • Slurred speech without the associated smell of alcohol
  • Frequent doctor visits to complain of pain
  • An increase in the consumption of prescription pain medication
  • Loss of appetite

Signs of Stimulant Use (such as Crack, Cocaine, or Crystal Meth)

  • Dilated pupils that do not react to light
  • Dry skin around the mouth due to the frequent licking of lips
  • Sniffling, runny nose, and associated sinus complaints
  • Frequent bloody noses
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Difficulty sitting still; sudden hyperactivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns; frequent insomnia
  • Irritable and argumentative
  • Acting nervous or euphoric at inappropriate times
  • Constant changing of subjects during the conversation

Addictions come in many forms—some more difficult to treat than others. When you, a friend, or a family member find themselves dealing with chemical dependency issues, immediate action is required. The longer a substance addiction goes untreated (such as alcoholism, addiction to heroin, meth, cocaine, etc.), the less likely an afflicted individual is to recover. Permanent damage to the brain and other organs such as the liver and kidneys can result from various forms of drug addiction. So, keep an eye on these warning signs and take immediate action as soon as you notice them.

To be sure, rather than guessing by signs, you can use the urine drug test kit, which will help you identify the presence of certain illegal drugs and prescription medications.