Back to school: 13 signs your kids are using drugs or alcohol

Solutions Recovery cautions parents to beware of drug, alcohol use in kids this time of year

LAS VEGAS – It can be a relief for parents when their kids go back to school. However, kids today face many pressures and challenges – bullying, peer pressure, even parental pressure to excel in all areas – that can make the return to school less than a happy time.

As a result, some kids turn to drugs and alcohol, whether as a coping mechanism or a means to fit in.

“Many parents overlook common and fairly obvious signs of problems their kids are having,” said Solutions Recovery president and co-founder David Marlon. “They may be simple behavioral problems, but, oftentimes, they’re far worse.”

Signs a youth may be using drugs or alcohol:

  1. Drop in attendance and performance at school
  2. Mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts
  3. Unexplained whereabouts
  4. Bloodshot eyes
  5. Missing routines (like family dinner)
  6. Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or spaced out
  7. Unexplained need for money
  8. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  9. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  10. Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits
  11. Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
  12. Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  13. Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies

One of the best things parents can do for their children is to stay involved, Marlon said.

“Know who they’re spending time with and how they’re filling their free time,” he said. “Meet their friends’ parents, and check in with them regularly.”

Clark County School District classes begin Monday, Aug. 25.

If a parent suspects his or her child is using, he/she should take action immediately.

Tips for addressing potential alcohol/drug abuse with a child:

  1. Privacy goes out the window. If a parent suspects a child is using drugs or alcohol, he/she has the right to look through their room and personal items.
  2. Talk with the child. Find out what’s going on.
  3. Lock up any alcohol or prescription drugs that might be in the home.
  4. Don’t give cash to a child suspected of using drugs/alcohol. Ensure they have a packed lunch for school rather than money to buy one.
  5. Get help. There is counseling available not only for the individual with a problem, but for the family as well.

Solutions Recovery, Inc. was established by David Marlon in 2005 as a chemical dependency recovery program. Previously the vice president of Sierra Health Services Inc.’s Western region’s operations, Marlon originally created the company with the needs of business executives in mind, but Solutions Recovery soon found itself increasingly treating those executives’ children.

Today, Solutions Recovery is Southern Nevada’s premiere licensed residential treatment center. A 60-bed drug and alcohol treatment center, it provides detox, residential intensive outpatient and individual counseling services to patients suffering from chemical dependency. Plans are in the works to open 40 more beds within the next 12 months.

To provide a multi-faceted approach to addressing these issues, Solutions Recovery addresses the following afflictions: alcohol addiction; drug addiction; prescription drug addiction; chronic pain; and mental disorder, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, grief, problem gambling and sexual trauma. All programs are custom-tailored, and staff members are on hand 24 hours a day to ensure those who want to get help can receive it as soon as they’re ready; when they come in for treatment, they will see the same person with whom they spoke on the phone.

For more information on Solutions Recovery, visit or call its 24-hour hotline at 855-708-6995.