What to Watch for!

A Message to Teachers:

As educators we have the opportunity to make positive differences in the lives of our students. We spend a great deal of time with our students, and one responsibility we all share, is to ensure that we do everything within our power to help not only educate our students on the required curriculum, but also help to mold them into responsible members of society. A survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2012, reported that illicit drug use is increasing in America. With that said, it is important that we educate ourselves on what to watch for in regard to drug use and abuse in the student population.


There are some risk factors that can increase a student's chance for using or abusing drugs.


  • Early Aggressive Behavior
  • Lack of Parental Supervision
  • Drug Availability
  • Poverty
  • Lack of attachment and nurturing by parents or caregivers;
  • ineffective parenting; and
  • A caregiver who abuses drugs.
  • Poor classroom behavior or social skills
  • Academic failure
  • Association with drug-abusing peers.

Protective Factors

Protective factors are things that can help to reduce the risk that a student may use or abuse drugs.

Protective Factors

  • Self-Control
  • Parental Monitoring
  • Academic Competence
  • Anti-drug Use Policies
  • Strong Neighborhood Attachment
  • Strong bond between children and parents
  • Parental involvement in the child’s life
  • Clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.
Signs and Symptoms of Teen Drug Abuse

Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse

  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Legal Trouble
  • Relationship problems

For more in depth information visit the following link:

Physical Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason


Gateway Foundation. (2013). Signs & Symptoms of Teen Drug or Alcohol Abuse. Retrieved January 9, 2014, from Gateway Foundation: Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center: (2014). Drug Abuse & Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems and Substance Abuse. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from Help Guide:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014, January). DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from National Institute onDrug Abuse: The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction:

Vimeo. (2010, September 23). Signs and Symptoms of Teen Drug Abuse. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from Vimeo:

H. R. McClelland

Morehead State University

HLTH 615*301

Spring 2014 Semester