MOORE — Question: We are a very close family and my ninth-grade son recently has not been himself. I do not know the first signs of drug abuse but I am afraid that is what I am seeing. Can you tell me what to look for?
— Bruce, Purcell
Answer: Dear Bruce,
Although we are unsure of what signs you are seeking, some signs of separation from the family are an expected part of growing up. At the same time, a shift in the dynamics of friendships could be a big sign.
Specifically speaking, statistics show most kids start by smoking weed. Things to look for are red eyes, a coated tongue, delayed reactions, and putting physical distance between them and you. There's always the sickly-sweet aroma of pot that is indescribable yet unforgettable! Since smoking weed requires papers or a pipe, for example, you might find some of this paraphernalia in cars or bedrooms.
The latest rage is for kids to have pill parties. They will raid parents' medicine cabinets and either sell them for extra money or take them to trade with others. The scary thing is not knowing what they might be getting in exchange. All parents should keep all medications locked up.
If a Valium is taken, they will be extremely tired and sleepy. If they take a friend's adderall (ADD med), they will be bouncing off the walls since its essentially speed.
Don't be afraid to email teachers to see what behavior in class is like. Let us know if we can be of further help.
Sally Phillips and Jeannie DeLancey are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children and Sally has three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district. Send questions to email@example.com or mail them to Class Act, The Norman Transcript, P.O. Drawer 1058, Norman, 73070.