How Can I Tell If Someone Is A Drug Addict?


Drug use can start out because of a variety of reasons including; trauma, experimentation, boredom, anxiety and social pressures. While virtually any substance can be abused, some drugs carry a higher risk of dependency and addiction than others. Click here to read more about why people do drugs.

There’s no question that substance use and abuse are widespread in the US. Per 2013-2015 data from NIDA’s National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 65.7 percent of individuals 12 and older used alcohol the prior year, 13.5 percent used marijuana or hashish, and 17.8 percent reported using illicit drugs. In their lifetime, 81 percent of those surveyed reported drinking alcohol, 44 percent said they smoked marijuana or hashish, and 48.8 percent had used illicit drugs. The longer one uses a substance, the harder it is to stop without experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. As a result, recognizing the signs of drug use sooner rather than later is important.

Knowing these signs can help to identify whether a loved one may be using drugs and risking harmful consequences to their health, school, job, and family life.

Signs of Addiction

  • They keep taking a drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem.
  • They need more and more of a substance to get the same effects (called “tolerance”), and They can take more before They feel an effect.
  • They feel strange when the drug wears off. They may be shaky, depressed, sick to Theyr stomach, sweat, or have headaches. They may also be tired or not hungry. In severe cases, They could even be confused, have seizures, or run a fever.
  • They can’t stop Theyrself from using the drug, even if They want to. They are still using it even though it’s making bad things happen in Theyr life, like trouble with friends, family, work, or the law.
  • They spend a lot of Theyr time thinking about the drug: how to get more, when They’ll take it, how good They feel, or how bad They feel afterward.
  • They have a hard time giving Theyrself limits. They might say They’ll only use “so much” but then can’t stop and end up using twice that amount. Or They use it more often than They meant to.
  • They’ve lost interest in things They once liked to do.
  • They’ve begun having trouble doing normal daily things, like cooking or working.
  • They drive or do other dangerous things (like use heavy machines) when They are on the drug.
  • They borrow or steal money to pay for drugs.
  • They hide the drug use or the effect it is having on They from others.
  • They’re having trouble getting along with co-workers, teachers, friends, or family members. They complain more about how They act or how They’ve changed.
  • They sleep too much or too little, compared with how They used to. Or They eat a lot more or a lot less than before.
  • They look different. They may have bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or They may have gained or lost weight.
  • They have a new set of friends with whom They do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs.
  • They go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.
  • They look in other people’s medicine cabinets for drugs to take.
  • They take prescribed meds with alcohol or other drugs.

Brett’s True Story of Addiction

Brett’s descent into addiction started out as a bundle of teenage angst and an identity built around rebellion. Skateboarding turned into smoking cigarettes, which turned into smoking Marijuana.

“I found my identity as the bad kid,” Brett said.

“For so long, I thought that drugs were cool. I thought that making money was cool. My whole perception was wrong,” Brett said.

His rock bottom happened when he overdosed shortly after leaving prison on the day of his brother’s wedding.

“My mother almost had to bury and marry a son in the same day,” Brett said.

“That took a lot of courage to finally walk in and realize that I was defeated by this disease. My probation gave me another chance. I had been to prison twice. I had been to 10 rehabs at that point. I had no other choice,” Brett said.

One of the principal factors that helped get him to the point where he realized he couldn’t continue in his addiction—beyond his rock bottom moment was his family going to Al-Anon programs.

“I can’t continue to use if I’m not being enabled by somebody,” Brett said.

His parents learned to take care of themselves. At first he was resentful when they began the program, but he was able to follow shortly after when he wasn’t enabled by them anymore.

Forming a New Identity from the Inside, Out

“My new identity really has nothing to do with these outside things. It has more to do with who I am and who God made me to be,” Brett said.

One of the things that gives him purpose in life now is helping kids who are in recovery.

“I believe my purpose in the program is to make recovery look cool,” Brett said.
Brett feels obligated to gain wisdom from the older guys and pass it on to the younger people. “I might attract them with my humor and intellect. I have things to offer these days, not stuff to hide behind,” Brett said.

Giving Back, Moving Forward

Brett wants to encourage people who have loved ones struggling in addiction that the person isn’t doing drugs because they want to hurt them. He’s celebrating six months sober and doesn’t want to go back to that life.

“I’m not going to lie and say drugs aren’t fun. It just was a managing thing. I was doing them just to get by,” Brett said.

However, now Brett realizes that he has a higher purpose, connected to the youth and to his higher power.

When he talks to people who struggle in addiction, he tries to put himself back in their shoes in order to relate to them.

“I’m in a place today where [just] yesterday I had a few mothers asking for suggestions and help. Before that it was my mother calling frantic. Today I get to sit in front of these cameras and carry a message of hope,” Brett said.

  1. Wow, I had no idea that addiction could involve all those negative effects. It’s like being in a trap where it’s very hard to escape.

  2. I can see why people on drugs suffer a lot and make suffer their family and friends. I’m glad when somebody gets to escape from that terrible condition and start a new life.

  3. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are dealing with signs of drug use or it could be something else entirely. It could also be signs of depression, or something else. But it really pays off to be always aware and take caution when a person you love exhibits these signs. It’s because people sometimes just label it off as something not worth their time, until it is too late to do anything for a drug addict.

  4. One of the signs someone is on drugs is that they keep taking a drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem. Resulting in the abuse of the drugs

  5. Being a graduate of psychology, I can name a few that are signs of drug abuse. The most obvious is physical or change in the structure of the body. Most drugs will clearly show manifest itself in the body of the person within 24-72 hrs of use.

  6. Thank you for listing the signs of drug use? I know it is common know how now bur still. Anyway, I guess this is why the government must reduce the casualties. If this is a war then it is one that we must win.

  7. Seriously, how to tell if someone is on drugs atimes is easy when the signs are on the body. Atimes it takes some of this observations to know. Thanks, I will take note

  8. This signs someone is on drugs you have here is really true, I can see some of it in my neighbours behaviour. Always checking people prescription bag.

  9. One of the most telling signs of drug use is losing interest in things one used to be fond of. I am particularly happy you pointed that out.

  10. People on drugs should not be viewed as evil but rather just people who are in need of our help. Thanks for sharing the inspirational story of Brett’s recovery.

    1. All these aforementioned points are all noted and they are observable. However one must be keenly observe and create time for this exercise. Creating time for our loved one will smell any addiction signs out if by chance they are addicted. It’s good for share this, at least everyone can note as I hope it will bring an early stop to addiction.

  11. It is important that we know how to tell when someone is on drugs. It could be the trigger that eventually saves their life.

  12. Thanks for the very detailed outline of the signs of drug use. I will be sure to be checking these in my friends that I suspect may be addicts.

    1. I have never been around people that use substance before, or should I say I have never noticed. It is easy to identify an alcoholic because of the way they may sway when intoxicated, but from this article it should be a lot easier to identify a person who is into substance abuse.

  13. The signs someone is on drugs are very easy to spot. Once identified we should do as much as we can to help the affected.

  14. I must admit that I have seen these signs of drug use in so many people. I just was never really sure though. Thanks so much for this insightful article.

  15. People on drugs go through so much everyday in their fight against addiction. What they need is love, understanding and care to help them get over the addiction.

  16. I finally know how to tell if someone is on drugs thanks to your great write up. The article is very well researched and written 🙂

  17. If left unchecked, signs of drug abuse can get much worse. In the worst case scenario it could even lead to death 🙁

  18. People on drugs really should read Brett’s remarkable story. I bet it would give them some hope that with the right mind set it is possible to conquer your addiction!

  19. Sometimes one feel down to shear their story with others. But it is need to do so. It so courageous of him to shear his story. Now I’m sure he is better of then before.

  20. This is really beautiful. Those addiction signs are always there; most of them at that. It honestly takes help and willpower to overcome all of this. Brett equally had his fair share of addiction struggles. I’m really glad he’s better now.

  21. This a whole lot tops to find out if someone is an edit. The article is really well detailed and informative I must confess. Everything that is needed to be known is just there.

  22. This is a wonderful Piece of Information.
    People taking substances should spot the Signs of addiction quickly to avoid being Victims.

  23. Never knew some of these sign before actually. It’s coming as a new information to me and I learnt. I don’t really fathom how people in this age still think that doing drugs is good. Well, who knows what’s forcing them into drug.

  24. How to tell someone is a drug addict is quite easy. It shows from the way they behave, and they tend to loose interest in what they love doing because of their love for drugs

  25. Addicted persons always make their substance priority, doesn’t care about anything else. Seeing that Brett went to prison twice and didn’t still stop using, it means the addicts careless about what consequences come from their usage. They really needed help.

  26. To know a drug addict is quite easy. It shows in their behaviour and they tend to loose interest in what they love doing

  27. A very detailed and helpful steps to know those people suffering from drug addiction, I have learnt a lot today. Thank you Brett for not giving up on yourself and for helping those still under the influence of drugs. Detox to rehab thank you for sharing this remarkable story of recovery.

  28. Some people still takes prescribed drugs with alcohol, who does that? This signs will really help me out, I got alot of friends with some of this signs, thanks seriously. I never though it could be an addiction problem

  29. This article created a very good awareness for people to be able to identify an addict. Probably if most people can pick the early signs of when a person just started getting hooked on the substance then they can help the person early enough.

  30. The two ways for me is always through them needing more of the substance to get the initial effect. When it wears off they look strange too.

  31. Drugs are not options in my life. Addiction must be very difficult to hide. Thanks for sharing this blog. This is very helpful for all people who are suffering from drugs and addictions.

  32. Identifying addicts should not be a problem when one follows the tips given in this article. Addicts shows signs for people to detect in their everyday lives.

  33. Great article. Addicts try to hide themselves from the world but these signs posted here can help one in identifying them and help them find solution.

  34. Thank a lot to Detox for sharing ways of abusing drugs and their possible signs to watch out for. However, Brett’s story addiction is attributed to peer influence. Indeed, I am happy he has changed his bad way to a better one.

  35. The worse form of drug addiction is when addict is going through pains from drugs taken and they are still taking such drugs. I look at these ones as lost soul already.

  36. Thanks to Brett for sharing his story. Addicts can identified through all the signs above and it is important to take note of people with such signs in order to help them get back on track.

  37. There are various reasons why people indulge in drug addiction. However Brett’s story of drug addiction has shown that friendship is a factor. But it’s a cheering news that he has jettison such habit.
    Thank Detox for rehabilitating people’s lives.

  38. One of the adverse effects is that once you start… You keep going on and on… I appreciate the great work in opening up to us the effect of addiction and how possible it is to be free of it.

  39. Without awareness like this given out by Detox To Rehab it would’ve been worst around people. Because, more people at an early age could’ve been addicted by now, but since they are gaining awareness here and there about the dangers of drug abuse, they quickly have a rethought never to endanger their health.

  40. Thank you Detax to rehab for sharing these type of stories with all of us.These stories are really very much inspirational for many people.

  41. Thank you for listing the signs of drug use? I am surprised there are so many signs someone is on drugs to watch out for. What they need is love, understanding, and care to help them get over the addiction.

  42. Yes, it’s true…bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or They may have gained or lost weight are always a sign in addicts to look for. This is an helpful piece, thanks for sharing

  43. They often loose interest in things the once loved and craved for. Even most times they become tired working or cooking so they leave on little or no food at all. We should help them when two or more symptoms shows in someone

  44. It’s good to know this information because sometimes we can help prevent that a loved one fall into drug addiction, or be able to recognize if they are already there and do the necessary to help them.

  45. seriously, there are various ways you can identify someone who is a drug addict. If he or she is a closed pal, you can say through his or her unusual action and inaction to issues.

  46. To add on, addicted people tend to at times be more calm or talkative than before. With the signs you can tell who is addicted and needs help.

  47. Very informative. but I think there is more to it than this? Whatever the case is. at least people will be aware of it. This goes a long way.

  48. It could also be signs of depression or something else. It is like being in a trap the most Abvious is physical or change in the structure of the body.

  49. This is such an informative post as some persons tends to hide their addictions in order to prevent criticism. This will help people to recognise and help addicts around them. Thanks for sharing this great information

  50. Thanks for the detailed information on detecting a budding drug addict. It’s simply invaluable. Addiction is best curtailed at it’s start. The longer they used the drug, the harder to live off it. Brett’s story is inspirational

  51. Being a drug addict isn’t something written on the face of the fellow rather it gets to limelight through their behavior to co-workers and friends. Thank God Brett had a lifting.

  52. Awesome message! Making recovery cool is a brilliant sentiment to pass on to addicts struggling. I can why Brett is the perfect fit to encourage users to rehabilitate. Thanks for the great read!

  53. a lot of people that go into drug think that drug is cool..I’m happy Brett decided to get help.. achieving six months of sobriety isn’t a small feat..kudos to him

  54. Thank you for sharing the signs of addiction. Sometimes, there are family and friends that we have no knowledge that they are addicted to certain substances. I hope that more people will be more caring and understanding once they encounter a family member or friend who is suffering from addiction.

  55. I,m so excited about this article because it is so educative and informative, thanks to detox to rehab for sharing it enlightened me more about the signs of addiction

  56. Usually when someone starts shutting everyone off and secluding themselves it’s a very strong sign of addiction. Such signs should not be ignored.

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