Friends are an essential part of our lives and naturally, we are concerned when any of them fall prey to undesirable practices such as drinking alcohol, smoking and drug abuse. It may not always be obvious if someone has been consuming drugs as needles and foil could easily be hidden away from view. However, there are still tell-tale signs on the body that drop hints of someone's involvement with drugs.

What are some of the physical signs that I should look out for?

• Attempts to conceal red, teary eyes from the effects of drug consumption (E.g. By wearing sunglasses even in non-glaring environments)
• Behavioural changes such as withdrawn personality or inactivity
• Extreme changes in mood - mood swings
• Easily agitated or unusually restless
It may be difficult to comprehend why your friend is taking drugs especially if you know about the devastating consequences that follow, and the changes in his or her mood. Drug abusers behave defensively and sometimes go into conflict with the people who care about them.
Apart from physical signs, other clues that you can look out for in friends whom you suspect of drug abuse include unexplained and regular absenteeism from class, and a general lack of energy. You may also notice that they frequently borrow money for obscure reasons, which may be used to finance their insatiable appetite for drugs.

Some immediate signs to look out for:

• Burnt foil that may have been used to smoke heroin
• Small plastic sachets lying around that may have been used to contain drugs
• Discarded and used syringes
• Pipes or plastic bottles that have been pierced or tampered with

Know a friend in trouble?

If you are aware that a friend is experimenting with drugs, know that he or she may react negatively when confronted so it is important to stay calm and reasonable. If you are unsure of how to express your concerns, it is best to consult an adult like your teacher, parent or a health professional who specialises in such issues.
Keeping quiet about a friend who is taking drugs will only cause your friend further harm.

What you can do: 

 Visit the CNB website for more information on drugs and drug abuse.

If you notice a friend behaving strangely and the signs match those of drug addiction, immediate help must be rendered. You may contact the following helplines:

1) National Addictions Management Services (NAMS)

Tel: 6732 6837 (Mon-Sun inclusive of PHs, 8AM – 11PM)

If you have been approached to try drugs or wish to report any information, please call the CNB hotline at 1800-325-6666*

This article was first published on Youth.SG.

The article has been contributed by the Central Narcotics Bureau.  

*Kindly note that airtime charges apply for mobile calls to 1800 service lines and calls are free of charge only if made from regular land lines.