Young People's
Substance Misuse Service
0300 123 3360

Quick exit

For parents

Do you think your child is using drugs or alcohol?

Many parents panic if they suspect or find out that their child is misusing drugs or alcohol. It can be a frightening because of the potential risks but the best thing to do is to stay calm, talk to your child and try and find out the facts about their use.

Remember – although illegal drugs are widely available, only a very small percentage of young people actually go on to develop dependency problems.

Below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol use.

Physical signs

  • Loss or increase of appetite, changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or a change in sleeping patterns
  • Watery red eyes, sunken eyes with black rims or pupils noticeably larger or smaller
  • Puffy face, blushing or paleness
  • Needle marks on arms or legs
  • Shaking

 Behavioural signs

  • Change in overall attitude or personality
  • Moodiness, nervousness or oversensitivity
  • Extreme hyperactivity and excessive talkativeness
  • Change in personal grooming habits
  • Change in friends and possible avoidance of old peers
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, family, people or things in general
  • General lack of motivation, energy and/or self-esteem
  • Poorer attention span or forgetfulness
  • Poorer performance at school or work
  • Excessive need for privacy
  • Unexplained need for money
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia

We are here to support you. We can advise you about how to speak to your child and how to help them to reduce and stop their drug or alcohol use. We can also provide information, advice and guidance and different drugs and their risks and effects. If you would like advice or support please contact us.