General Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use
If a person shows any of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they are using drugs. Some of these behaviors could be caused by normal stress, or they may be symptoms of depression, mental or physical illness.

The key to detecting possible drug use, is looking for CHANGES in physical appearance, personality, attitude or behavior.

Physical Symptoms

  • Increase or decrease in appetite; changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain.

  • Slow or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.

  • Changes in sleeping habits -- inability to sleep, awake at unusual times; or unusual sleepiness, laziness, sleeping at strange times.

  • Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.

  • Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.

  • Puffy face, blushing or pale skin.

  • Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.

  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.

  • Runny nose; hacking cough.

  • Needle marks or bruises on lower arm, legs or bottom of feet.

  • Unexplained nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.

  • Tremors or shakes on hands, feet or head.

  • Irregular heartbeat.

Behavioral / Psychological Symptoms

  • Change in overall attitude / personality with no other identifiable cause.

  • Changes in friends: new hang-outs, avoidance of old crowd, new friends are drug users.

  • Change in activities; loss of interest in things that were important before.

  • Drop in school or work performance; skips or is late to school or work.

  • Changes in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.

  • Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfullness.

  • Lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, discipline. Bored, "I don't care" attitude.

  • Defensiveness, temper tantrums, resentful behavior (everything's a hassle).

  • Unexplained moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.

  • Violent temper or bizarre behavior.

  • Unexplained silliness or giddiness.

  • Paranoia -- suspiciousness.

  • Excessive need for privacy; keeps door locked or closed, won't let people in.

  • Secretive or suspicious behavior.

  • Car accidents, fender benders, household accidents.

  • Chronic dishonesty; trouble with police.

  • Unexplained need for money; can't explain where money goes; stealing.

  • Unusual effort to cover arms, legs.

  • Change in personal grooming habits.

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Back to Main Page