Is Your Teen Using Alcohol or Drugs?

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Michael Culmer
  • Published July 10, 2012
  • Word count 558

Teen drug and alcohol use is a problem in this country. According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)…

  • 26% of underage persons consume alcohol

  • 44% of Americans have tried cigarettes by the 12th grade

  • Teen drug use has increased to 10% after 6 years of decline

So, is you teen using drugs or abusing alcohol? Before you say no, take a serious look at the points below.

Is alcohol missing from your home?

Are beers missing from the refrigerator? Are liquor bottles empty? This could be a sign that your teen is using alcohol. Teens who abuse alcohol will sometimes refill liquor bottles with water. Keep liquor in your home under lock and key.

How is your teen’s appearance?

Are your teens avoiding you when they come home? When your teen comes home from a night out with friends, take a look at their eyes. Are they red? Look for other signs such as smells of cigarettes or marijuana. Ask them what they were doing with their friends.

Who are your teen’s friends?

It’s important to know your teen’s friends. If your child is hesitant to bring a friend over to the house, it might mean they have something to hide. Ask your teen about their friends. Get to know them.

How is your teen doing in school?

If you suspect drug use, call your teen’s teachers and principal. Check on attendance records. Are they regularly late for classes? Have teachers noticed a drop in performance? These are signs your teen may be on drugs or using alcohol.

When have you last checked your teen’s room?

If you suspect drug use, it’s okay to go through your teen’s room. Look for hiding places where they might be storing drugs or alcohol. Also check backpacks, wallets and purses.

What is your teen spending money on?

Think about how your child gets money. Do they have a job? Are they asking for money from you? When they ask you for money, see how they are going to spend it.

What is in your teen’s car?

Many times, your teen will hide things in their car. Look under seats and in the trunk for liquor bottles, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Are your teens home on time?

Some home security systems have features that allow you to monitor when your kids arrive home. If you notice that they’re not regularly home on time, you’ll want to see why. If your system does not have this technology, check with your security system company. It’s a good way to monitor your teens.

What to do if your teen is using drugs or alcohol

If you determine that your teen is using drugs or alcohol it is very important to confront them and spell out the rules and consequences.

Before you approach your teen, gather any evidence and set up punishment. Talk it through with your spouse. Be prepared for denial and possible anger.

While it may be tough, it’s important to listen to your teen through out the conversation. Let them know how drugs and alcohol can ruin lives. As you’re talking with them, tell them that you love them and you’re there to help.

For even more help, consider contacting a drug abuse center in your area or a local religious organization.

Michael Culmer is President of Hue & Cry, Inc., a home security system and alarm monitoring company that serves homeowners and businesses in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Find out more at

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