From Dabbling to Destruction: Signs and symptoms of adolescents who are using substances regularly (Session 2 of 5)

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Michelle D. Lipinski, M.Ed., Principal, Northshore Recovery High School; Maureen Cavanagh, MPA, M.Ed., LADC


How do we create spaces in our community where we can work together to create realistic goals and consequences for our students and children?  This second session will discuss the signs and symptoms of an adolescent who is using substances more regularly but not yet meeting the DSM criteria for a substance use disorder. It is challenging to identify the adolescent's personality changes because many substance use behaviors mimic typical adolescent behaviors.  We will discuss the importance of having a discussion with the student about these behaviors and showing them “the lines” they are crossing into potential addiction. There will also be an overview of what the expanded ACES look like in our classrooms and communities, and the effect of the pandemic and other social stressors that have impacted trauma in adolescents. Finally, we will discuss resources for schools and families who are in this stage of substance use.

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