Signs of drug use

It can be difficult for people to tell if someone is misusing drugs, especially if they are experimenting and not using regularly. In young people, some of the symptoms can be similar to normal signs of growing up, for example, mood swings. It is important to keep regular communication open with the person, be aware of who their friends are, what their interests are and what is going on in their lives.

Examples of signs to be aware of:

  • Unusual changes in mood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Losing interest in school/work, hobbies, sport or friends
  • Increased evidence of lying or other secretive behaviours
  • Things going missing around the house
  • Unusually tired
  • Have trouble sleeping at night
  • Changes in friends
  • Spells of talkative, excitable or overactive behaviour

Sometimes there may be other evidence which may suggest drug use such as finding:

  • Cigarette papers 
  • ‘Wraps’ (square folds of paper which have contained powder) 
  • Cling film, foil, small plastic bags used to package small quantities of drugs
  • Syringes

Page last updated:23 December 2014