Today, there is no city or country that is still untainted by the plague of drug abuse and drug trafficking. The high levels of drug abuse among young people and particularly teens is a very distressing matter. There are many reasons that teens these days are starting drugs and in time becoming addicted, some of these are: curiosity, pleasure, peer influence, acceptance, improving athletic performance, and relief of stress, anxiety or depression. It is very important that parents know what to look for when they believe that their child might be taking drugs. Catching the problem as early as possible is the best way to protect children against problems that may occur in the future, prevention is the best cure.

Addiction is not a simple phenomenon by any means, the movement towards more loose family systems, neglect from parents who both work, the decline in old social values and morals and other factors are all factors that are increasing the amount of teen drug abusers.

There is a big difference between drug use and drug abuse. No one wants to know that their child is taking drugs or has taken one drug or another in their life, however, odds are they are going to or already have. Although this is not harmless by any means, it is the signs of addiction that need to be looked out for rather than worrying that your child may be exposed to drugs at some point.

As mentioned earlier, addiction is more complex than people may think. One person may experiment with a drug once and that will be the end of it, on the other hand, one person may try it once and gradually start to depend on the drug until a serious problem develops. The vulnerability to drug addiction if different for each person: genetics, mental wellbeing, family life and social environment all play their role in determining someone's propensity to become an addict.

There are many tell tale signs that parent, family and friends should look out for when they suspect someone of being an addict. Isolation, when the person avoids contact with other people and spends a lot of time away from home or by themself in their room. Changes in appearance, such as weight fluctuations, burns or sores on their skin, and a general ill look about them. Signs that are apparent immediately after use include: irritated, red or glazed eyes and dilated pupils, as well as strange smells on clothing. Mental symptoms to look out for include: loss of ability to concentrate, abrupt changes in mood, problems with performance at school, unexplained personality changes.

Parents should always be on guard for something like this and be willing to confront and be open with their child. Rather confront your child early at the risk of causing an argument than let it slide once or twice at the risk of having a massive family problem on your hands.

Author's Bio: 

The Harmony Group is a registered non-profit organisation, the Harmony Foundation, whose sole aim is to bring the highest standards of treatment for addictions and other compulsive behaviours to South Africa.