A Guide to Teachers: Spotting Drug Abuse

Substance abuse, or drug abuse is excessively and repeatedly using chemicals to change perception or achieve a different state of mind. Substance abuse has many causes, the most common ones include, peer pressure, academic stress, teenage depression or other untreated emotional or physical causes. Being a teacher, it is important to understand and help your students, even the ones abusing substances, and noticing the signs of drug abuse is the first step toward a positive change.

Teachers and students interact on a daily basis, this makes it easy for a teacher to notice subtle behavioral changes and signs of drug abuse in a student. With close observation one can easily spot the signs of substance abuse among your students and help them take appropriate action for finding help. Importantly, remember that many signs of drug abuse exist, and its a cardinal sin to presume without being sure.

All students are at a risk of coming under the kind of influence that encourages drug use. Pretty much any student might abuse drugs, no matter what the student’s background is. There are some symptoms though, that make it more likely for a student to try drugs. These include a family history of drug abuse, depression and other mental illnesses, a low self esteem and antisocial behavior.

A student who is abusing drugs, is likely express disinterest in any extracurricular activities that might happen in the school. Such students will lack the enthusiasm to partake in school work, hobbies, sports or even making new friends or maintaining old ones. Its quite likely for them to develop a rebellious and unfriendly attitude, be unhygienic, display improper grooming and isolate themselves from everyone else.

The physical signs of drug abuse are also quite noticeable. Some of the physical symptoms of drug abuse include, bloodshot red eyes, dark circles, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, sore throat and pale skin. While any unwell student can display these symptoms, a drug user will always have, all or some of these symptoms.

The most obvious of all signs of drug abuse among students is the change in academic performance. Here are some generally accepted indicators of a student abusing drugs.

1) Quality of homework and other schoolwork decreases significantly.

2) Daydreaming or sleeping during lessons and displaying an intense lack of interest.

3) Almost always late, takes long breaks and leaves for home early.

4) Is often absent from classes.

5) Appears confused and cannot concentrate.

6) Doesn’t care for anyone’s, including their own, safety.

7) Makes basic errors in judgement and has trouble performing easy tasks.

8) Avoids all other students.

9) Makes excuses and blames other for own mistakes.

10) Claims that things are perfect and nothing has changed.

11) Is suddenly losing or gaining weight.

When looking for the above signs do keep in mind that the above symptoms can be caused by issues that are not drug induced. Sometimes a depressed child, or one with a mental illness or problems at home can behave quite similarly to a child abusing drugs. It is important to do your research and not accuse a student blindly.

Increasing Statistics of Prescription Drug Abuse

In order to survive in this competitive world, frustration, depression and anxiety seems to be ruling our world at every step. To escape from all these troubles, drugs seem to be the most potent medium. Besides the illegal drugs, the prescription drug abuse also leads to a certain kind of addiction. It includes the use of sedatives, mood stabilizers and pain killers used by the victim against the prescription of the doctor ‘dosage. It has been found that a taking the drugs frequently leads to certain kind of addiction. Hence it is a kind of self medication, where the victim takes the drugs without even taking permission from the doctor. It has been found that the statistics of the prescription abuse is increasing day by day. Anti depressants and painkillers are the most frequently abused drugs.

Like many other drugs, prescription drug abuse also creates certain cravings within the individual. As a result, the person cannot resist himself from taking the drugs. He develops an insatiable craving, which becomes so much strong that he has to take one dose everyday at least. It has been found that teenagers are the worst victims of drug and alcohol abuse. Oxycodon and Vicodin are two of the most frequently abused drugs among the teenagers. They get abused to the drugs mainly at the social gatherings or at the parties. In the beginning they take the drugs just out of curiosity to find out what are the reasons for it. But gradually they develop the habit of taking it and finally this turns into an addiction process. So what was earlier a physical craving slowly becomes a psychological craving gradually.

The path to prescription drug abuse begins with experimentation. Though the reasons for drug abuse vary from person to person, yet some of the most common ones are genetics and the influence of social environment, any traumatic event in the childhood, abuse or neglect by the family members, early usage of drugs and also mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Though the symptoms vary from person to person, yet the effects of drug abuse remain almost the same. If the drugs start controlling your life, the more you are moving forward from abuse to drug addiction. This will create a negative impact on the social and the economic life of an individual. If you are on a dangerous path of drug abuse, it is always better to seek medical help as soon as possible.