Handle with Care: Ohio

Characteristics of Drug Use


Below are a list of drugs and the prominent characteristics of their use and abuse, as well as significant warning signs to identify parents or caretakers of drug endangered children.


Alcohol: slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes, poor balance, odor of alcohol, drooping eyes, flushed appearance, confused, lack of concentration, vomiting, aggressive behavior, exaggerated behavior, crying, exhibitionist behavior

Marijuana/Synthetic Marijuana: bloodshot eyes, euphoria, laughing, disorientation, impaired time & distance perception, binge eating, sweet smoky smell, dry mouth, unable to concentrate, short-term memory loss, hacking cough, lazy laid back appearance, unmotivated, talkative

Stimulants: irritable, dilated pupils, intense emotions, fidgeting, headaches, difficulty concentrating, agitation, excessive activity, loss of appetite, insomnia

"Ecstasy" (MDMA): extreme euphoria, dilated pupils, teeth grinding, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, paranoia, loss of appetite, anxiety, increased body temp, insomnia

Depressants: slurred speech, staggering gait, depressed, spasmodic movement of eyes, unsteady, poor balance, confusion, droopy eyes, tired

Cough Medicine: euphoria, hallucinations, loss of coordination, drowsiness, increased pulse & blood pressure, hypothermia, slurred speech

Inhalants: chemical odor, sores/red marks around mouth and nose, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, impaired attention, slurred speech, nosebleeds, nausea, vomiting, poor balance & coordination

Hallucinogens: sense of detachment from surroundings, hallucinations, fixed eyes, blank stare, anxiety, panic, distorted reality, slurred or blocked speech

Cocaine: excitability, anxiety, dramatic mood swings, runny nose, sores around nose, hacking cough

"Crack": tremors, involuntary muscular movements, paranoia

Methamphetamine: excitability, anxiety, tremors, involuntary muscular movements, dry mouth, dizziness, chest pain, teeth grinding, dilated pupils, tooth decay, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, increased blood pressure, insomnia (awake for days at a time, then crashing & sleeping for days), sores on body (meth bugs), excessive scratching of skin. In addition, withdrawal from family and friends, lack of appetite, extreme weight loss, irritability, high body temperature, extreme depression, repetitive or compulsive behaviors

Narcotics: constricted pupils, low raspy voice, droopy eyes, poor coordination, dry mouth

Steroids: depression, violent outbursts, sudden weight gain, change in muscle mass, increased hair growth, irritability, acne, high blood pressure

Nicotine: odor, yellow fingers, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, low raspy voice, dizziness

Heroin: surge of euphoria, clouded thinking, wakeful and drowsy states, depressed breathing

"Bath Salts": agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicidality, high blood pressure, increased pulse, psychosis, and stimulatory effects

*Withdrawal Symptoms: Any of the following symptoms can be signs of drug withdrawal: nausea, sweating, tremors, agitation, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, confusion, headaches, tired, anxiety, thirst, cramps, craving.