Your teenager has been acting out lately, and while this is to be expected, the behavior is becoming increasingly distressing. You aren’t certain what is going on, and despite your best efforts to communicate with your child, he shuts down. Your spouse also attempts to determine the cause of the erratic behavior, but he has no luck either. You and your husband sit down and talk. Maybe it’s drugs, but how can you tell?

The Issue Might Be at Home

If you or your husband have been prescribed pain medication, the cause of your teen’s intolerable behavior might be in your medicine cabinet. Many of today’s painkillers are opioids, which are medicines derived from the same poppy plant that makes heroine. These medicines do more than make your pain go away, they are highly addictive, and many teens are getting hooked by stealing pills from their parents. If you don’t take your pills regularly, your teen might be helping himself to them.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that prescription drug-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999. More people are being prescribed opiate painkillers, so more people are becoming addicted to them. Your first step in ensuring your teen isn’t pilfering your pills is to keep count. Make certain pills aren’t going missing from the bottle. If you don’t take them despite your doctor’s recommendation, your second step is to dispose of them properly.

How to Tell If He’s Taking Other Opioids

Counting your pills may prove to be fruitless; your child may be getting his drugs elsewhere. Kids these days are also known to steal their parents’ prescription medications and sell them at school. You want to take the right step to help your son. But, if he won’t let you, and it doesn’t appear he’s stealing opioids from you, what can you do? There are signs that indicate drug abuse is at play rather than simple teenage angst.

The medical journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience published an article titled, “Early Detection of Illicit Drug Use in Teenagers.” According to the physicians who authored the piece, your son’s behavioral change is one of the first signs he’s using drugs. Another indicator is he’s suddenly hanging out with a different crowd. In this case, it might be the crowd that is supplying him with the opioids. He may also distance himself from your family and become reclusive.

Other signs include breaking rules and curfew, ditching school, and lying about where he’s been. In some cases, the opioid might make him violent when he’s going through withdrawal, and if he seems too sedate, he might be under the influence of the opioid at that moment. He may also seem confused, tired, complain of nausea or vomiting, want to sleep excessively, or slur his speech and stagger. Finally, if you notice money missing or your teen has no motivation, there may be a problem.

These are just some of the signs your teen may be addicted to opioids. If you suspect there is an issue, get him professional help right away. America is facing an opioid epidemic yet again, the victims are young and old, and many of them are dying.