In the wake of the growing opioid epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration is warning parents to look for signs their teens may be using drugs.
Government experts say there are three main reasons a teenager could start using drugs:
- They want to feel good.
- They want to stop feeling bad.
- They want to do well at school or work, and think drugs can help them.
Teenagers who begin using drugs will usually withdraw from family and friends and become secretive.
If you suspect your teen is using drugs, officials say there are common spots teens will try to hide drugs around your home and in the car.
In the home:
- Alarm clocks & graphic calculators: small baggies can fit in the battery compartment.
- Highlighters: inside the marker cap
- Shoes: usually pushed up in the toe
- Candy wrappers: some drugs already look like candy and can easily be disguised in discarded wrappers.
- Wall posters: baggies flattened and taped to the wall behind the poster
- Heating vents
- Stuffed animals
- Game consoles
In the car:
- Taped to the back of the steering wheel
- Under the seats
- In the glove compartment or trunk
The DEA also provides a pictorial guide to common drugs along with common slang names for those drugs.
There is a bright side.
Research indicates illicit drugs use (drugs other than marijuana) is either holding steady or declining among teens.
2016 data shows five-percent of eighth graders, ten-percent of tenths graders and 14-percent of twelfth graders reported using a drug other than marijuana. These numbers are the lowest they've been since 1991.