5 signs that your child is using drugs

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5 Signs that Your Child is Using Drugs
Being aware of your child’s welfare will enable you to identify the danger signs/Photo: Pixabay

Parenting is much more than providing for your child’s basic needs. As a parent, you should be aware of the changes that happen your children’s welfare is concerned, especially detection of alcohol, drug and substance abuse.

Drug and substance abuse is an overindulgence or dependence on alcohol or drugs. Drug abuse interferes with the development of the brain and therefore affects health and the overall development of your child.

A recent research conducted by NACADA (the National Campaign against Drug Abuse) reveals that 75% of Kenyan students have tried alcohol at least once. Early detection is instrumental in successful prevention and rehabilitation should your child fall prey to drug and substance abuse. In case you need help, feel free to call NACADA on the number below.

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5 signs that your child is using drugs

  • Isolation

We are living in a more individualized world where some children prefer locking themselves up in their rooms. However, isolation from the family could be a danger sign. Do not assume that your child could be doing homework inside their room. If they are not home, you should not assume they are studying with their friends. 

  • Sudden bursts of anger

Adolescence comes with hormonal, neurological and emotional changes that can frustrate your child. But a sudden burst of anger shouldn’t be assumed to be the cause of tantrums, breaking glasses or cursing. Addressing the cause of anger will enable you to take good care of your child’s needs.

  • Drastic mood changes

Most teens actually start experimenting with alcohol or drugs right under their parents’ unsuspecting noses. You should watch out for a number signs that include rapid mood changes. If your child seems to be unsettled in the morning and calmer in the evening, chances are they could be using drugs.

  • Family history

Is there history of drug abuse in your family? Because children imitate what parents do, parents should not indulge in drinking or smoking at home. Better still, such parents should completely abstain from drinking and using drugs.

  • Disappearance of things

The sudden disappearance of cell phones, watches or shoes could be another danger sign. Your child could be selling or exchanging stuff in order to get drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. This kind of behavior should not be considered as ‘teens-being-teens’ or as a stage that will come and go with the passage of time.

Follow this link for more information on drug abuse

Examples commonly abused substances in Kenya

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Marijuana
  • Miraa
  • Inhalants and Solvents
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Prescription Drugs – including sex enhancement drugs
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Contraceptives

10 Red Flags to Look Out For

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Poor personal grooming
  • Sudden bursts of anger, hostility and rebellion
  • Skipping class, declining grades and getting into trouble
  • Clashes with family values, brush with the law and rebellion
  • Sudden change of relationships in terms of friends, favourite hobbies and obsession with new joints
  • Demanding more privacy, closing doors and wanting to be alone
  • Excessive use of fresh breath mints, perfumes, air fresheners and incense to hide smell of smoke or drugs

Summary: 5 signs that your child is using drugs

We are all aware about how addictive drug and substance abuse can be, which means that by the time it is evident your child is abusing drugs, it could be way too late. These are the 5 signs that your child is using drugs.When you notice the slightest of change in your child, you shouldn’t throw caution in the wind by thinking that such things only happen to ‘bad’ children. Know what is going on in your child’s life by actively getting involved. Make sure your children knows and understands the consequences of making bad choices in life.

Ensure they recognize the importance of living consistent to the values that your family holds dear. When it goes beyond your control, do not hesitate to seek help. If you are in the US and need a facility near you, kindly contact the Recovery Village. They should be able to share information of a facility where you can get help. Feel free to share 5 signs that your child is using drugs with your network of friends, children or family members.

Help Centres for Drugs and Substance Abuse
  • Asumbi Treatment And Rehabilitation Centre
  • Asumbi Treatment Centre
  • Brightside Treatment And Rehabilitation Center
  • Chiromo Lane Treatment Center
  • Conquerors With Christ Trust Rehabilitation Centre
  • Eden Village/Eden Halfway House
  • Maisha House, Rongai
  • Masaa Home
  • Nairobi Outreach Services
  • Nairobi Place Addiction Treatment and Specialized Medical Centre
  • The Bridge Treatment and Counseling Centre
  • Emmanuel Resource Centre
  • Lifesong Kenya (counselling and referrals)

This list of 5 signs that your child is using drugs is not conclusive. Feel free to check the NACADA website.


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