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Signs of Drug Use: How to Tell if Someone is High or Addicted

The Signs of Drug Use

When you suspect someone may be using drugs, whether or not they have a history of drug abuse, it is a difficult situation that comes with many unanswered questions.

You’ll likely wonder how you can tell if someone is on drugs, since it is common for those struggling with addiction to hide their using, or lie about the severity of their dependency.

Unfortunately, however, each drug is different and the signs of drug use can vary significantly depending on the person and the type of substance being used.

This can make it extremely difficult for family members, loved ones, employers, and others to determine if a person is using.

It’s not unusual for those who are concerned to wonder how to tell if someone is on drugs by looking at them, since most of us do not have drug tests available at-the-ready, and even if we did, the individual we are curious about might not agree to be tested.

This can often cause concerned parties to feel at a loss, worried, and despondent.

But thankfully, there are some signs of drug addiction that can indicate if a person is struggling. While none of these signs are sure-fire proof that an individual is abusing drugs, they are indicators that many drug addicts experience or have in common.

Thus, being aware of these signs is often the first step to determining if there is an issue.

The Physical Warning Signs

When it comes to how to tell if someone is on drugs, physical symptoms are often the most apparent.

Below are some physical signs of drug addiction or abuse that healthcare professionals look for:

  • Bloodshot or “glazed” eyes, trouble focusing, or an inability to keep the eyes fully open.
  • Pupils that are either extremely dilated or constricted.
  • A sudden drastic change in body weight.
  • A sudden disregard for personal hygiene and physical appearance.
  • Irregular sleeping patterns.
  • Increased energy, jittery body movements, or fast-paced breathing.
  • Slowed reaction times, slurred speech, or frequent lethargy.
  • Marks, sores, or bruising on the skin.

It’s important to note that physical signs are not the only indicators of addiction, though. If you have been wondering how to tell if someone is using drugs, you must also be informed about the cognitive and emotional symptoms that can arise, as well as any noticeable shifts in how the person conducts themselves.

The Behavioral Warning Signs

Below are some of the most common behavioral changes that occur in individuals who are taking drugs:

  • A sudden, drastic change in a person’s attitude or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Paranoid thoughts, irrational thought patterns, or a sudden fixation on an unusual topic (I.e. “The government is using drones to spy on me”).
  • Frequent lying about their whereabouts, finances, or employment.
  • Disappearing for long periods of time without informing anyone, cell phone being turned off for extended periods of time, etc.
  • Frequently asking to borrow money, paying for things in cash, pawning belongings, etc.
  • Stealing money, jewelry, or other valuables.
  • A sudden inability to perform well at work or school.
  • Periods of extreme elation or positivity followed by periods of depression, agitation or fatigue.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

What to do if Someone is Exhibiting Signs of Drug Addiction

Above all else, it is imperative to understand that you, alone, are incapable of curing or “fixing” a person’s substance abuse problem.

If you have educated yourself about how to tell if someone is high on pills or illicit drugs and you feel confident that someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, there are several actions you can take.

They include:

  1. Staging an Intervention

Even if the person you are concerned about is exhibiting all the signs someone is on drugs that we’ve covered above, they may not be interested in seeking help. 

Interventions are helpful in these situations, since they give the addict a chance to hear from the people who love and care about them the most. Addicts are notoriously good at avoiding situations where they may be confronted with their drug use or forced to answer for their behavior. But in an intervention setting, multiple people can support one another in having these difficult conversations and work together to emphasize that the goal is to see the addict return to a healthy, happy life.

  1. Seeking Emergency Care

If someone you know if experiencing more severe signs of drug use, including slowed breathing, unconsciousness, or seizures, immediate medical attention is necessary.

You can bring the individual to a nearby emergency room or medical facility, or call 911. 

  1. Recommend Resources

There are many support groups and services available to those who are struggling with addiction.

Some of the most reputable programs include:

How to Know For Sure

The only way to know for absolute certain that someone you know is taking drugs or struggling with addiction is to have them take a drug test.

At Countrywide Testing, we sell affordable, easy-to-use at-home drug tests that can detect up to 14 different substances in the human body.

All of our tests come with a 99% accuracy rating and are proudly made right here in the USA. Visit our store now to shop all kits.