Is My Teenager on Drugs?

Teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise as is other drug and alcohol use. Parents who are alert to the signs and symptoms of potential drug use have a better chance at providing support and help to a teen. Find out what strategies exist for finding out whether a child or teenager is on drugs.


The Hunt

Parents often debate how best to check a teen for signs of drug or alcohol abuse. Whether online or in persons, parents discuss the ins and outs of how to check children living under the same roof who are not yet adults but are learning responsibility for personal actions. Snooping may not be appropriate unless a parent or caretaker believes a teen is in imminent risk of danger, depending on the individuals involved. Snooping can be a balancing act as a parent is obligated to keep a child safe but also keep trust which may be important for the journey ahead, whether or not a teen is using drugs and alcohol.



To discover whether a teen is on drugs, the following tips outline some helpful hints which may provide ways to explore a teen’s space for signs of drug or alcohol use:


  • Take time to look. Look when the teen is not home to avoid confrontation.
  • Return items to the proper place. Put things back and don’t remove items from the room.
  • Discuss situation with a partner. Discuss situation with a confidante and formulate a plan.
  • Take photographs. Take photos for evidence, but do not remove the object.
  • Evaluate the risk. Sometimes immediate intervention is needed depending on severity of use. Dangerous drugs may prompt immediate action to avoid a teen causing harm to themselves or others.
  • Prepare for an intervention. Do not confront children for shock value which can lead to confrontation. Carefully plan to stage a full intervention (with the help of a specialist) who can provide meaningful context and conversation about drug use which will hopefully lead to treatment



Where to Look

Teens hide drugs around the house or inside a bedroom. It is likely not going to be marked and family members may spend time looking only to come up empty handed. The following are likely places to look if a teen is suspected of using drugs or alcohol.

  • Bathrooms are a great place to hide drugs, sometimes in the toilet tank or in a container
  • Belt buckles are sold online which have secret compartments to stash drugs
  • Candy wrappers can conceal pills or other drugs
  • Hollowed out candles
  • In cars
  • CD cases
  • Empty lipstick or makeup containers
  • Game consoles or speaker towers
  • Pockets of clothes in the closet
  • Shoes
  • Socks in sock drawers
  • Taped behind posters on the wall


Sooner is always better to discovery teen drug or alcohol use. If a teen is using, it can lead to dangerous consequences. Treatment is available for individuals who need help with addiction and recovery is possible.


Teen drug use is a serious problem. If you suspect a teen is using drugs or alcohol, call us to find out what programs and options are available to support a journey to recovery.