Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention

DEA partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to update this publication that was last revised in 2012. This 40-page booklet offers information to help parents and other caregivers raise drug-free children. The guide includes an overview of substance use among youth; descriptions of substances young people may use; a look at risk factors that may make kids more vulnerable to trying and using drugs, and protective factors to offset those risks; suggestions for how to talk to children about drugs, regardless of their age; and tips on what to do if you suspect your child is using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Signs of Drug Use


Changes in behavior

  • Teenagers enjoy privacy, but be aware of excessive attempts to be alone.
  • Exaggerated efforts not to allow family members into their rooms.
  • Not letting you know where they go with friends, or whom they go with.
  • Breaking curfew without a good excuse.
  • Changes in relationships with family.    

Changes in friends

  • No longer is friends with childhood friends.
  • Seems interested in hanging out with older kids.
  • Acts secretive about spending time with new friends.

Money issues

  • Sudden requests for money without a good reason.
  • Money stolen from your wallet or from safe places at home.
  • Items gone from your home. (May be sold to buy drugs.)
PDF icon Parents Guide to Prevention2.52 MB