Resources for Parents

Tools, Tips & Information Especially for Parents


Partnership For Drug Free Kids

Where families find answers.

We’re committed to helping families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use. We've been supporting families and responding to a changing drug landscape for over 30 years.  Learn more about how we accomplish our mission.

Talk 2 Prevent

Start a conversation with your child.  It's not as hard as you think.

Alcohol is the most used and abused drug among youth in the United States.  Talk to your teenager about not drinking and keep the conversation going.  Talk 2 Prevent.

Not Sure Where to Start?  We're Here To Help!

Call (315) 697-3947 or 1-866-443-5744

Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm

Harmful Substance Use in Adolescents

Signs, Symptoms & Behavior Patterns of Harmful Substance Use in Adolescents School/Academic Achievement

  • Sudden drop or gradual lowering in grades and achievement levels

  • Skipping classes or entire days

  • Drops out of sports and other extra-curricular activities

  • Disrespect/defiance toward teachers, rules and regulations

  • Frequent suspensions/expulsions

  • Present in classroom but inattentive

  • Frequent visits to nurse for various minor complaints

  • Burns on hands and clothing

  • Increase in disciplinary actions

  • Sleeping in class

  • Wandering in hallways or school grounds

  • Frequent trips to bathroom

  • Lack of response to concern expressed about any of the above

Family Behavior

  • Change in attitude toward rules, parents, brothers, and sisters

  • Withdrawing from family functions, trips, meals, etc.

  • Breaking curfew, sneaking out, becoming more secretive

  • Lying and blaming others for irresponsible actions

  • Violence - physical and verbal

  • Erratic sleeping habits

  • Vagueness about company kept and where time was spent

  • Strange telephone calls, parties hang up or refuse to be identified

  • Compliant and agreeable but fails to follow through with agreements

  • Becoming secretive and not sharing information about activities

  • Suspicion of money or alcohol missing from parents or siblings

  • Stealing and/or selling possessions (clothing, records, gifts, etc.)

  • Has no job but seems to have money

Friends and Peer Group

  • Changing attitude toward straight friends

  • Change in peer group with little interest in old friends

  • Parents don't know friends, can't get names or addresses

  • Begins to associate with an older crowd

  • Fighting with peers

Changes in Physical/Psychological Condition

  • Easily upset, emotional state changes rapidly

  • Weight changes, drastic loss or gain

  • Odor of alcohol or marijuana

  • Changes in speech pattern, slurred speech

  • More frequent physical injuries, bruises

  • Burns on hands or clothing

  • Change in hygiene, using same clothes frequently

  • Very defensive

  • Stumbling, confusion, disorientation

  • Changes in sexual behavior

  • Brown stained fingertips

  • Hangover, headache, vomiting, anxious

  • Reddened eyes and frequent use of eye drops

  • Deep nagging cough - dry, persistent

  • Lethargic attitudes, seems to lose interest in many activities

  • Undisciplined, doesn't get things done on time or as agreed

  • Blackouts, has periods of memory loss

  • Inappropriate moods

  • Nervous, agitated, trouble sitting still


  • DWI

  • Accidents or near misses

  • Speeding/carelessness on highway

  • Thefts, assaults, or other infringements of law

  • Sale of drugs, alcohol

  • Possession of drugs without medical reasons


  • Financial management erratic, spends more money and asks for money

  • Paraphernalia accumulated (rolling paper, bongs, roach clips, etc.)

  • Sudden change in slang, "Druggie" behavior observable

  • Uses a lot of profanity


The symptoms and behavior patterns listed above are indicators that a problem of substance abuse may exist. If parents, school personnel and other significant persons in an adolescents life observe these warning signs, a cooperative effort can be undertaken to further determine the extent of the problem. By utilizing the appropriate school and/or community professionals an assessment/evaluation of the adolescent can occur. This assessment process, by a qualified professional, will then determine if a condition of alcoholism/chemical dependency exists; or, if there is another problem present requiring professional assistance. Once the problem is evaluated and assessed appropriate treatment alternatives can be explored with the adolescent and family members.

BRiDGES can help. Call us for confidential assistance at (315) 697-3947.

Call us today on 1-315-697-3947

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