We’re parents, too. We know it takes a special kind of bravery to act on your concerns and get help for a teenager or young adult who may or may not want it. If you have this fear, here’s what to watch for:
The transformation: Does he/she disappear for a little while, and then come back a different person? Talkative, excited, revved-up, without an appetite?
The eyes: Are the pupils dilated? Does he/she seem extra-sensitive to light?
The nose: Do you see traces of white powder? Does he/she get lots of nosebleeds, or tend to sniff a lot, or seem always to have a runny nose?
The arms: Do you see bruises or needle marks or pus-filled wounds that can’t be explained?
The appetite: Has his/her appetite vanished? Do you notice a rapid weight loss, or complete disinterest in food?
The mood: Does he/she seem withdrawn, tired, suddenly unconcerned about his or her appearance and hygiene?
The cash: Does he/she always need money? Is cash disappearing from your wallet or purse, or valuable items from your home?
The friends: Is he/she suddenly hanging out with different people you’ve never heard of? Is he/she shady about where they’re going?
The paraphernalia: You’re looking for small spoons, baggies, razor blades, syringes, pipes.