Signs of Drug Abuse in Young People

Drug use has become a major problem within our communities with young people falling victim to the scourge of Tik mandrax (the white pipe) and dagga. There are NO safe recreational drugs, below are listed the signs that as a parent you should be aware of in your child or teenager:

Signs at Home

  • No longer interested in family activities
  • Failing to obey family rules
  • Refusing responsibilities
  • Being abusive
  • Changes in appetite
  • Missing money or valuables in the house
  • Coming home late
  • Secretive and defensive about their movements
  • constant excuses for poor behaviour
  • Spending a lot of time alone in their rooms
  • Being dishonest about activities
  • Unusual sleep patterns

finding the following: cigarette rolling papers, pipes, , small glass vials, vehicle globes, household globes plastic baggies, cigarette lighter (non smokers)



Signs at School

  • Drop in marks
  • Truancy or always being late to school
  • Loss of interest in learning
  • Falling asleep in class
  • Not doing homework
  • No respect for authority
  • No longer participates in sport
  • Poor memory and loss of attention span


  • Physical and Emotional Signs
  • Different friends
  • Smell of alcohol or marijuana on breath or body
  • Mood swings and behavior changes
  • Negative, argumentative, paranoid or confused, destructive, anxious
  • Does not accept criticism acts rebellious
  • No longer shares problems
  • No longer happy, depressed
  • Tired or hyperactive
  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • Cheats and steals
  • Short of money or appears to have excessive money
  • Sloppy appearance
  • Runny nose, blocked nose


If your child displays some of the above signs it does not necessarily mean that they have a drug problem, however open your mind to the possibility that they may have a problem. A child or teenager who is abusing drugs will definitely display most if not all of the above indicators.

What if My child Is Using Drugs?

So, what do you do if you believe that your child has been using drugs or alcohol after reading this list of warning signs? Lovingly consult them about their drug use. try to remain calm, asserting that you are there for them but they will need to take steps to becoming drug-free. If the first conversation doesn’t have any effect, take some time and try again. If the problem is too big for you to handle alone, seek help from your family GP, pharmacy, local FAMSA, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Remember Help is out there