Counseling Services

Substance Abuse Resources

On this page, you'll find basic information about substance abuse, but also specific information about some of the most commonly abused drugs, including marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs.

Warning Signs

How can you tell if a friend is involved with drugs?

There are no hard and fast rules, but there are warning signs. The main thing to look out for is changes in behavior, attitude, appearance, friends, or activities.

Bear in mind that many of the signs and symptoms listed below may also be caused by stress, depression, or other teen problems. Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if they occur in a cluster. Consult your family doctor or a mental health professional — getting help early on can help teens to get back on track and develop more effective coping skills, often preventing further problems.

Behavioral Warning Signs

  1. Eating Habits: Loss of appetite or increase in appetite; noticeable weight loss or gain.
  2. Sleep Patterns: Teenagers often complain of tiredness. But is your child awake or asleep at unusual times? Constantly tired? Lethargic?
  3. A New Crowd: New friends or hang-outs; avoiding old friends; unwilling to talk about or introduce new friends.
  4. School / Work Performance: Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skipping school or work, or arriving late on a regular basis.
  5. Mood Swings: Oversensitivity, temper tantrums, moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
  6. Motivation: General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, an "I don't care" attitude. Difficulty paying attention; forgetfulness.
  7. Secretiveness: Teens are concerned about privacy. But a child who is excessively secretive may really have something to hide.
  8. Dishonesty: Is your child vague about their evening or weekend plans? Coming up with excuses for being late home? Chronic dishonesty can be a sign of substance abuse.
  9. Cash Flow: Unexplained need for money; money, alcohol, cigarettes or valuables go missing around the home.
  10. Drug Paraphernalia: Look out for evidence of drug use. Common items include pipes, bongs, cigars, rolling papers, butane lighters, roach clips, syringes, tourniquets, burned tinfoil or spoons; as well as products to cover drug odors such as dryer sheets, air freshener, incense, or towels under the door.

10 Physical Warning Signs

Most drugs have physical side effects that parents and other caring adults should watch out for. These include:

  1. Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
  2. Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
  3. Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
  4. Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
  5. Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
  6. Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
  7. Runny nose; hacking cough.
  8. Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
  9. Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
  10. Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.

Get Help

If you are concerned you or a friend may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs , get help from a counselor, doctor, or other professional. Contact a counselor or campus security at 488-2663 or 471-6911.