What are the signs of drug use?

The signs of drug use depends on the drug and the person using the drug. Behaviours that may be signs of a drug use problem include:

  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits, less attention to dressing and grooming, or less interest in sex.
  • Up and down moods, a mood or attitude that is getting worse, or not caring about the future.
  • Anger toward others or treating others badly.
  • Sneaky behaviour, lying, or stealing.
  • Poor family relationships, or relationships that are getting worse.
  • New problems at work or school, or problems with the law.
  • Dropping old friends and activities, finding new friends, and not wanting old friends to meet them.

Having these signs doesn't always mean a person is using drugs. The behaviour could be because of work or school stress, or it could be a sign of depression or another health problem. But behaviour changes like these are common in people who use drugs.

Physical signs of drug use include:

  • Red eyes, a sore throat, a dry cough, and feeling tired.
  • Needle marks on the arm or other area of the body.
  • Small, "pinpoint" pupils in the eyes.
  • Losing weight without trying to, or not feeling like eating.
  • Changes in sleep behaviour, such as not sleeping as well.
  • Seeing things that don't exist (hallucinations).

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health

Current as ofNovember 3, 2016