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Moodiness and teenagers go hand in hand, and sometimes, drugs

Were you one of many parents in Colorado who couldn't get a teenager out of bed until noon last weekend? You likely didn't make too big of a deal out of it as you recalled your own youth and how sleep was at the top of your list of priorities back then. In fact, it might have stayed at the top of your list had you not become a parent.

Somehow, it seems the day before you held your first child in your arms was the last time you had a full night's sleep. Since then, life has been full of adventure and reward, as well as some significant challenges, as you raised your children and tried your best to give them a good foundation. The problem is, you're not sure your teenager's apparent fatigue is normal or a sign of a more serious, underlying issue, such as drug abuse.

Red flags that should capture your attention

All you can do as a parent is give your children ample love and attention, and try your best to provide for their emotional, physical and intellectual needs. From there, it's basically all trial and error. If you're worried that a particular child might be dabbling in illegal drug use, you may want to keep the following common drug abuse signs in mind:

  • Strange odors wafting through your house: On a humorous note, strange odors and teenagers also go hand in hand; piles of dirty laundry, opting for extra sleep over much needed showers and strange food concoctions often emit less-than-pleasing smells around the house. If you keep noticing a smell you do not recognize, however, it may be a sign that your child is using marijuana. This drug has a heady odor that tends to linger in the air and on clothing.
  • Items of unknown origins: Last time you were in your teenager's room, you may have noticed a little tin box lying near a jacket on the floor. You shrugged it off, thinking perhaps it was simply a container to hold small treasures, as your child has always been one to take delight in unique looking stones and other unexpectedly come upon trinkets. If you're already worried about your child's behavior, you may want to note that marijuana users often carry small tin boxes to hold joint rolling papers.
  • School grades that drastically fluctuate: If your son or daughter went from being a B student to failing most classes, this is a definite sign that something is wrong. 

An isolated concern may not be enough to cause you to suspect your child of a drug problem. If two or more worrisome signs exist, or if your child often has a glazed expression and seems to zone in and out of mental focus, you may want to sit down with him or her and have a serious discussion. Many Colorado teenagers use fake IDs to purchase marijuana, so if you think your child might be doing this, you may want to reach out for support.

Potential problems and who can help

The list of possible consequences from illegal marijuana or other drug use is quite lengthy. Everything from physical and emotional health to your child's social and academic life may be negatively affected by a drug problem. This type of behavior can also land your child in some serious legal trouble. It's understandable you'd want to help protect your child's rights and get the help he or she needs, especially if you get a call saying drug charges have been filed against him or her.

In addition to attending community support groups for parents of kids on drugs, many mothers and fathers seek guidance from experienced criminal defense attorneys before the court processes their children's cases.

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