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Is My Teen on Drugs? A Parent’s Guide to Drug Odors and Identification

Do you smell something funky in your teen’s bedroom? Maybe you noticed the car they drive has strange smells? These smells could be potential drug odors. Before you confront your teen about teen drug use, it is recommended to find out what the smells mean.

For instance, some teen boys and their rooms can smell musty with the scent of Doritos corn chips. This is often indicative that they are just sweaty, and the sweat is lingering in their bedding and clothes. If you smell this scent, it does not necessarily mean your teen is abusing drugs; just that they might need to develop better hygiene habits.

How to Tell if Your Teen Is on Drugs

Some types of drug use can be identified through behavior changes, as well as changes in eating and sleep patterns. A decrease in personal hygiene could also be indicative of drug abuse. In other cases, if your teenager has just started experimenting with drugs, signs of drug use are not always present. This is when you must rely on your nose and eyes to help.

What Does Marijuana Smell and Look Like?

Marijuana has a distinct musty, skunk-like smell to it. It is easy to identify the smell of buds as well as when it is smoked. The scent will also linger and can be hard to cover up. If your teen is going through a lot of air freshener spray, you may want to investigate further.

Marijuana buds look like dried flowers. If it has already been ground up, it could look like any green to brownish herbs like dried parsley, basil, or marjoram.

What Does Cocaine Smell and Look Like?

This will depend on whether cocaine or crack cocaine is being abused. Crack cocaine can smell like burning plastic or strong chemicals when it is smoked. Cocaine has more of a floral scent that is hard to detect since it is typically snorted.

Cocaine looks like a white powder, such as baking soda. Crack cocaine can look like small whitish-colored rocks or powder if it has been ground up.

What Does Heroin Smell and Look Like?

Heroin does not always have an odor, depending on its purity. Less pure heroin will smell like vinegar when it is being smoked. Yet, the smell quickly goes away.

Heroin can be white or brown powder. The white powder looks like baking soda, while the brown powder looks like cocoa powder. There is also a form of heroin that is sticky and looks like burned sugar or tar and is black.

What Does Meth Smell and Look Like?

Meth, crystal meth, or methamphetamine can have a few different smells, depending on how it is produced. Some types of meth can smell like burning plastic when it is smoked. Other types of meth have a strong chemical smell like cleaning products. Another common scent to be aware of is if your teen smells like ammonia all the time.

Meth looks like small white to off-white color crystals, as well as bluish-colored crystals, similar to shards of glass. It can also look like a white or blue powder if it has been ground up.

What Should I Do if I Suspect Teen Drug Use?

Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth

The first thing to do is to learn more about teen drug use from a qualified drug and alcohol treatment center. They can provide you with the resources and information you need to determine whether your teen has a drug problem.

Once you are confident your teen is using drugs, the next step is to enroll them in a drug and alcohol treatment program at a qualified drug rehab center. Keep in mind, if your teen is not ready to accept that they have a problem or want help, rehab is not always successful.

For further advice and help deciding how to tell if your teen is on drugs, please feel free to contact Adelante Recovery Center at (949) 427-9099 today!