How To Find Evidence of Child Drug Use

Do you suspect your child is using drugs? Do you need help in finding out? We want to help! We will share the ways to find evidence of drug use so that you can give your child the help they need.

It is important to know that even if you do not suspect your own child of using drugs, you should still be aware of this information and pay attention to any signs they may exhibit. As the video from the National Institute on Drug Abuse says, “a lot of us have an idea in our heads about what a person addicted to drugs looks like, but the truth is anyone can become addicted to drugs.”

Looking for red flags can start with your child’s appearance. Caring less for their hygiene could be a sign. Look for any changes to their eyes (such as redness, dilation or heavy lids). There could also be strange smells coming off your child, especially their breath.  Other physical signs to look for in your child are “changes in eating or sleeping habits.”

There are also social red flags. Your child could change who they decide to hang out with, and those new friends could be abusing drugs and influencing your child to take drugs with them. Your child could also be “deteriorating relationships with family members and friends.”

Academic red flags include not caring about grades and not going to school as much as they should. They also become less interested in the fun things they usually like to do.

However, these signs shown from your child may not be enough evidence for you. Perhaps you want to find more.

As long as your child lives under your roof and is dependent on you to survive, you have the right to search their belongings. It is even suggested that you do so to make sure you can help your child if they are making harmful choices. According to, places you should search are:

  • Dresser drawers beneath or between clothes

  • Desk drawers

  • CD/DVD/Tape/Video cases

  • Small boxes – jewelry, pencil, etc.

  • Backpacks/duffle bags

  • Under a bed

  • In a plant, buried in the dirt

  • In between books on a bookshelf

  • Inside books with pages cut out

  • Makeup cases – inside fake lipstick tubes or compacts

  • Under a loose plank in floor boards

  • Inside over-the-counter medicine containers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.)

  • Inside empty candy bags such as M&Ms or Skittles

However, any other hiding spot is possible. You ought to search every place you suspect until you either have found drugs/drug paraphernalia or you found nothing and are satisfied with your search. You should also search through your child’s phone for any unfamiliar contacts and suspicious messages. Be sure to also look out for e-cigarettes in the shape of USB drives.

Again, do not feel bad for searching through your child’s things. If you think your child needs help, you ought to do what you can, and says to “stand by your decision to search and the limits you’ve set.”

Your child may think you do not care for them or their privacy, but that is not the case. We know the tragedies that come with children and teens falling prey to drug abuse: addiction, families falling apart, arrests and death. So when your child doubts you, know that we believe in your ability to keep them safe. 

We would definitely recommend talking to your child about your concerns after searching through their things whether or not you found anything. If they have any of the red flags or warning signs mentioned in this article, they are probably going through a challenge in their life that is causing them to struggle. Even if they are not using drugs, they could use the support of their parents. Your child may give you push back and may think they have everything covered. We hope you are able to still support them, help them, and show them love so they can get through whatever they are going through in a healthy way and be the best version of themselves.


“Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs”

Tera Swigart