The warning signs of adolescent drug addiction

David Sheff, Best-Selling Author, shares advice for parents on how to recognize the signs that your teenager is using and having problems with drugs
Warning Signs of Teenage Drug Use and Addiction
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The warning signs of adolescent drug addiction

The warning signs that our kids are in trouble, that our kids are using, things change. And sometimes it's very subtle. Their moods change. They become moodier. Their grades sometimes suffer. They become isolated. They change their friends. That's often what's happened. You kind of notice these things. But part of the problem is if this isn't happening until your kids' in their teenage years, it's confusing because what's the difference between a teenager - we know teenagers get moody. We know teenagers sometimes get distracted. Things change for them. So we really have to pay close attention. And a pediatrician said it to me. If you think there's a problem, there's a problem. Which means, maybe you're not sure. But that's the time to start having those conversations and maybe even to take your child in to have them meet with somebody who can figure out what's really going on. Yeah, one of the things I know which I didn't know when my son was young is that the younger a child is when they start to use, the more likely they are going to have drug problems and ultimately become addicted. So it's something we really want to stay on top of. When I first found out that my son was using drugs at all, I found some marijuana in his backpack. And he was 12 years old. I didn't know at the time, but I know now, that's a warning sign that there's a better than average chance that he's going to end up having problems with drugs.

David Sheff, Best-Selling Author, shares advice for parents on how to recognize the signs that your teenager is using and having problems with drugs


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David Sheff


David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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