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Video:Is Your Teen Using Drugs?

with Neil Chethick

If your teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, you want to know so you can act. Find out the common signs and ways to detect teen drug and alcohol use.See Transcript

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Transcript:Is Your Teen Using Drugs?

Hi, this is Neil Chethik for About.com Parenting. Unless you keep your teenagers under lock and key, they are going to be exposed to illegal drugs and alcohol. And many will experiment.

If your child does choose to experiment, you need to know about it, so you can act. Today, I am going to offer some ways to tell if your child is using illegal drugs or alcohol.

Drug and Alcohol Smell Test

Your first line of defense is the smell test. Whenever your child comes home from a party, or from an evening hanging out with friends, say hello – up-close. The scent of marijuana smoke and alcohol is difficult to hide, but your child may try to do it: Be suspicious if he is always walking in with a wad of peppermint gum in his mouth.

Visual Drug and Alcohol Cues

Drug use also offers visual clues to parents. With alcohol or marijuana use, his eyes will usually be red or excessively teary. Keep your eyes open and observe how your child looks.

Drug-Related Behavior Changes

Observe how he acts as well. Watch for changes in mood, grades, or basic personality. While anger or a sudden downturn in grades are not definitive signs of drug use, they are signs. Follow them up.

Monitor Your Teen's Friends

Also, stay on top of the friends your kid hangs out with, and what they are doing together. Do not let your child brazenly lie to you about where he is going, or who he is with. Whenever he goes out, ask for places, times, names, and phone numbers.

If Your Teen is Doing Drugs...

If you do discover your child is using drugs or alcohol, it is not the end of the world. Most kids experiment, and most turn out OK. But this is a time when a hands-off approach is not enough. Get involved and stay involved. Yes, your teens may hiss at you now, but they will appreciate you in the long run.

This is Neil Chethik for About.com Parenting.
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