So how can I know if my child uses drugs? We take a look at some common signs to look out for.

From when a person decides to experiment with drugs (often due to peer pressure) to when that initial sporadic use becomes an entrenched habit, a period of time usually elapses.

This time can vary depending on the type of drug in question. The dependence or addiction to heroin, cocaine and crystal meth (ice) kicks in very quickly compared to other drugs such as alcohol or marijuana. Other factors can make that time even shorter eg the age of your child or if there are underlying, pre-existent psychiatric disorders. Whatever the case, the time necessary to lead to substance dependence is less than what is commonly believed.

Some of the signs of suspected drug use can be:

1. An increase in the need for money.

  • Asking for money at the slightest opportunity or even stealing at the slightest opportunity.
  • Selling prized possessions to family members or others
  • When doing an errand, will keep the change;
  • Approaching members of the wider family (uncles, aunts, cousins) with an urgent need for money;
  • Inventing urgent money needs (school items, materials, etc.).


2. Change in friendships.

  • Loss of long-term companions and forming exclusive friendships with other users or dealers.
  • Sudden and timely departures from the home or workplace.
  • Always on the phone.
  • Consistently arrives home late at night.
  • Avoids colleagues and friends who he/she suspects are aware of the addiction.
  • Hiding objects in remote places of the home.


3. A sudden change of demeanour.

  • Loss of interest in school or workplace.
  • Complaints about the family rules in the home.
  • Secretive about his/her own things.
  • Becomes aloof from the family minimal communication with family members.
  • Sudden mood swings – one moment he/she is pleasant and caring, the next suspicious, impatient and aggressive.
  • Sleep is elusive.
  • Neglect of personal appearance.
  • Becomes unusually manipulative of the family members.


If your child or loved ones are showing these signs, it may be time to reach out for some help. Please contact us at any time – we’re happy to give you advice on what options might suit you. We run a residential program that has helped thousands of people live drug-free.