Teen Drug Abuse - Signs and Symptoms

Discuss the signs and symptoms of drug abuse in you, a friend, or relative.

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What are the symptoms and warning signs of drug abuse?

Ways to recognize that a person is intoxicated or "high" on a drug depends on the substance with which he or she is intoxicated and include the following:

  • Tobacco products: frequent smell of tobacco, irritability, discolored fingertips, lips or teeth, cigarette butts at curbside
  • Cannabinoids: reddened whites of eyes, sleepiness, excessive hunger, lack of motivation, excessive happiness, paranoia
  • Cold medications: sleepiness, rapid or slowed heart rate
  • Inhalants: runny nose, smell of gasoline or other solvent, confusion or irritability
  • Depressants: sleepiness, lowered inhibitions, poor coordination, slowed heart rate or blood pressure, dizziness, coma, death in overdose
  • Stimulants: rapid heart rate or blood pressure, irritability, excessive happiness, less need for sleep, paranoia, seizures
  • Narcotics: less experiencing of pain, excessive happiness, sleepiness, slowed or stopped breathing, coma, death in overdose
  • Hallucinogens: trouble sleeping, blurred perceptions, paranoia
  • Dissociative anesthetics: higher blood pressure and heart rate, memory loss, nausea and vomiting, irritability, aggressiveness
  • Club drugs (for example, Ecstasy): feverish teen that does not sweat, finding multiple lollipops or other hard candies, the teen seeming to love everyone and/or have an excessively happy mood (euphoria)
  • Others (for example, anabolic steroids): increased irritability or aggressiveness, rapid increase in muscle definition, thinning or loss of head hair, marked increase in acne over a short period of time, finding needles

The physical symptoms of withdrawal from these drugs are often nearly the opposite of the effects of intoxication.

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