Warning Signs

Know the signs of addiction

Behavioral Signs

General Signs of Use:

  • Change in friends
  • Declining grades
  • Decrease in motivation, “No drive”
  • Increased school disciplinary action
  • Loss of interest in activities (Sports, music, hobbies)
  • Missed school or work
  • Selling/pawning, stealing, or missing valuables/cash
  • Frequent use of mints/gum/candy/chips to mask breath
  • Hiding substances (ie. Cars, wallets, hat rims, shoes)
  • Hiding controlled substances in non-controlled
  • Prescription bottles that look similar
  • Avoidance of loved ones/secrecy/irrational excuses for absences
  • Overly sensitive or defensive/detached
  • Anxiety/Depression/Frequent mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Isolation (long periods in bathroom/shower, car or bedroom)
  • Changing sleep hours
  • Decline in physical self care
  • Sudden onset or increased cigarette usage
  • Increase in speeding or other tickets or minor accidents
  • Change in style of clothing, particularly clothing depicting substance use messages -(iPath or Bob Marley clothing etc.)

Specific to IV Use (Heroin/Cocaine/Other):

  • Wearing long sleeve shirts during warm weather (To cover “Track marks”)
  • Napping or falling asleep at strange times (Heroin or opioids)
  • Long periods in bathroom/shower

Specific to Distribution of Substances:

  • Having large amounts of unexplained cash
  • P.O. Boxes for mail
  • New clothing without a job
  • Packages arriving with discrete labeling

Physical Signs

General Signs of Use:

  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Droopy eye lids
  • Significant weight loss
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Paleness of skin/general look of illness
  • Black circles under eyes
  • Unsteady gait
  • Shaky/Sweaty hands
  • Change in speech (Rapid/excessive talking or minimal verbal engagement)
  • Not sleeping or excessive sleep

Smoking Substances (Marijuana or Synthetics/Prescription Pills  Cocaine/Heroin):

  • Frequent and persistent cough
  • Persistent Bronchitis or other respiratory issues
  • Burn marks on lips, hands, finger

Snorting Substances (Heroin/Cocaine/Prescription Pills):

  • Frequent sniffles or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of sense of smell/taste
  • Redness of nose

IV Substance Use (Heroin/Cocaine/Other):

  • Bruises, redness or needle marks on skin (forearms, legs, feet, hands)
  • Strange location of abscesses
  • Burn marks on fingers/hands
  • Excessively rubbing/itching face or other parts of body
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