Is my teenager lying about drug abuse?

Do you suddenly find your teenager in want of more money without any explained use of the same? Has your teenager been lately lacking or developing an insatiable appetite for food?


Have you noticed a sudden change in talking, sometimes rambling or withdrawal into silence? Are the teachers summoning you over poor performance?

Well, these tell-tale signs are an indicator of drug abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse is a growing menace among the teens and parents at times find it hard arresting the lies and denial from their teenagers.

This article seeks to explore the question of whether your teen is lying about substance abuse and what you should do as a parent or guardian.

Statistics, Facts, and Figures; a Worrying Trend

Substance abuse facts collected by the government and reported should worry any parent. Some of these statistics are:

  • Close to 50% of high schools seniors have abused a drug of some kind
  • Marijuana is the leading most abused drug with at least 43% of high school seniors having abused it.
  • A staggering 60% of teens have reported the use and abuse of prescription painkillers that they have acquired from friends and family members.
  • Almost 20% of high school seniors have smoked cigarettes.
  • Only 20% of teens consider occasional smoking to be dangerous.
  • At least 71% of high school seniors have used alcohol.
  • Averagely, alcohol is tried by boys from age 11 and girls from age 13.

According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most 10th graders considered the use of crack as less risky. Using inhalants and synthetic drugs once or twice were also considered less harmful by a larger percentage.

These trends are worrying, and the thought that your child has been lying about the use and abuse of drugs is a thought one cannot fathom.

In reality, discussing with your child about the dangers of drug abuse can lessen and curb the use of recreational drugs.

However, only 25% of youth report ever having a conversation with their parents revolving around this critical topic. Knowing what drugs teens abuse and the reasons behind this is key to helping salvage the situation.

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Common Drugs Abused by Teens and Why

The common reason that leads to teens using drugs is the process of experimenting. Due to curiosity precipitated by a number of factors, a teenager might want to try out some drug for the sheer thrill of knowing how it feels like to be high.

Some of these factors are:

  • Peer pressure-Mostly brought about by the caliber of friends that the teenager keeps around.
  • Curiosity-Mainly the inquisitiveness occasioned by the need of knowing how it feels to use a drug.
  • Stress and emotional struggles that might be a result of a situation at home or at school such as bullying, a feeling of lack of acceptance by peers, or if the same vices are manifested at home coming from the parents or other adults.

Drugs Mostly Abused

Mostly, drugs that teens abuse will include:

  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine and Tobacco
  • Opioids
  • Synthetic Drugs

Most teenagers using these drugs when confronted by their parents will come up with a creative lie to shield themselves from a reprimand or at times punitive measures from the parents. But it is important for you as a parent to detect a lie from your teenager before confronting them.

How to tell when Your Child is Lying about Drug Abuse?

Sometimes some parents look the other way even when they sense a lie from their teens, brushing it off as a common trend among teenagers. This is dangerous and will, in the long run, be counterproductive if you want to arrest wayward behavior in your teen and steer them from harm’s way.

As earlier stated at the beginning of this article, common tell-tale signs in your teen’s behavior and mannerisms should be a clear indicator of something wanting, happening in their lives.

When you initiate a discussion on say what they think about drug usage in their school, do they become overly irritated or disturbed? ‘’Mom but that’s none of your business,’’ or maybe, ‘’I don’t want to talk about it.’’

When your teen denies that the drug paraphernalia you found in their room belongs to them or that the reddish and watery eyes are as a result of lack of sleep, be on the lookout and smell a lie.

But what should you do when you know that your teen is lying that they aren’t using drugs when all signs show that they do?

What should you do if your Teen is Lying about Drug abuse?

It is important to note that teens will lie about drug abuse because they fear the consequences of being discovered. So you need to know that they are not doing this to hurt your feelings or rebel against your parental guidance.

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It is understandable to feel upset that your child is obviously and openly lying to you but at no time should you take it personally. Remember, you asked them so that you can help them and therefore your reaction is key.

The following are some key steps to take:

  • Always trust your instincts-If you feel that your teen is not as open as possible, investigate further and if it reaches a point for you to take action, do it.
  • Educate yourself-It is important to be in the know of the common trends, terms, and methods that teens use to conceal drug use. Professional advice is always good but trying to control the situation from home before seeking help is recommended.
  • Never overreact- Realize that lying is quite normal in teens although it shouldn’t be tolerated. Emotions shouldn’t cloud your thought process. The fact that the teen lied should be a more reason as to why you need to help them.
  • Get professional help-Let’s face it, sometimes, it might just be overwhelming. You might have gotten wind of the situation at an advanced stage.Seek help and let your teen know you are doing so out of love and tender care. Sometimes such help might involve your teen going into rehab after proper assessment. Let them know it’s for their own good. Get help. It’s never too late.
  • Build trust-It is important to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship while creating and defining boundaries. Let your child know that there are things you will no longer let them do alone like going out BUT leave room for them to earn back your trust .


Drug abuse can be a traumatizing thing in a family. And it gets worse when school going kids are involved. However, knowing the tell-tale signs, the drugs you suspect your teen is abusing and the ways to combat the lies is vital in controlling this.

Never let it get into addiction once you know of it.

This is what you need to be at all times:

  • Be available physically and emotionally
  • If possible know the peers that your teen hangs out with at home and in school and even their parents so that you can be engaging them positively.
  • Be approachable and understanding so that if your teenager has a problem, they can find it easy to talk to you. Sometimes people resort to drugs to run away from a problem.

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