How can you be sure that someone is high


I have a hard time determining if my son is high or not. Of course if he is nodding off, acting weird, talking non-stop, those are obvious. Even my daughter who is a certified drug and alcohol counselor says she isn’t sure anymore.
Could it be that he uses a combination of drugs and the effects aren’t as clear?

The reason I ask is that I would prefer to have my talks with him when he is not under the influence


It is hard for me to tell as being high is his normal. It’s all I have known for years. I can say my gut is 99% right most of the time. I will brush it off and make excuses in my head and then bam I was right all along. A sure tell sign for me is mine can not operate a vehicle without his eyes wanting to close. Its is always a given that he is still using.


It makes total sense that you would want to hold off on having conversations with your son until you know he’s not under the influence. It can be tough to tell but the signs you’ve listed - nodding off, acting weird, talking non-stop - are the obvious ones. When you’re unsure, I’d say to trust your gut.

Also keep in mind that even if your son is not high at that exact moment, it doesn’t mean the drugs aren’t affecting his behaviors and judgment. Depending on how long he’s been using, it can take up to a week for the drugs to leave his system. During that time, he still might do whatever he needs to protect the addiction, including lie, deny, sneak, hide, etc.

My husband and I have gotten to a point where he will take a drug test if I ask for one. It’s really the only way I can be positive he’s using or not.


One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten: Trust your gut! @S0b3rSt0rms


i struggle knowing too. Hoping I can learn to tell the difference.

Sometimes it seems relatively obvious, especially if he’s just used, because he gets smily, slurred speech, dreamy look etc… other times, especially when he’s been awhile without drugs, he gets sketchy, jittery like he’s high, walking in circles, spilling stuff, opening cupboards, packages making food, etc. (he doesn’t live with us, and I don’t give him cash at any time anymore), but I have had an open door policy with all my kids, (and up until recently, i treated him the same.) All my kids (bio and pseudo kids) come visit, raid the fridge, use the washer, shower, spend the night, etc. They all have their own entry code to the front door (the lock texts me “who and when” they came in).

Up until recently, My son with addictions had regularly came over to do laundry, take a shower, watched tv, charged his phone, eat food, etc.

hang out and chat with me if i was home, if not, he cleaned up, packed up his laundry and left

(I recently deactivated his code, because his personality changed.) he’d still come over more randomly, to wash a load of laundry…but it was often horribly grungey clothes, blankets etc. he became negligent, quit showering, would open food and leave it spread about, leave the washer overloaded, with muddy clothes, and fall asleep on the couch grungy and dirty, (or at other times, just leave) defensive or overy apologetic, if i confronted him on the negligence.

Ive been trying to identify if he was under the influence, and just wandered off, or just having withdrawals, and left to look for a high.

I want to talk to him but even sober, he can’t think clearly any more. or at least i assume he’s sober?


Very good points that even if not high, his judgement may still be impaired. drug testing hasn’t been on my radar for awhile-thanks for the reminder


Hey @Jojogtz7 I can almost always tell as soon as my son opens his mouth if he’s using or not. And I’ve learned to say,

“Hey Babe- I’m feeling uncomfortable. I want to talk to you, but I don’t feel like you’re all there. Can we talk another time?”

and then we try to set another day and time in the near future to talk. It’s a lot easier because
I can’t really make headway with him when he’s out of mind, and I don’t want to get mad and frustrated, so I just let it sort of slide, and wait for a better time to engage.

I hope that someday your son will be sober enough to regain his composure and you can both have a satisfactory conversation. It may be that for now, you can only make your observations and protect your heart a bit not to get too engaged when he’s out of mind. The brain does heal; neuroplasticity is real and it doesn’t take too long once he gets clear and starts to sleep and gets some peace from the trauma he’s trying to escape from while simultaneously creating. Yuck-o. Hold on- it’s nail-biting season. It won’t be forever.


Mine too @Jojogtz7, he makes such a mess and can’t hang onto nothing. Can’t keep track of clothing, shoes, phones. He dumpster dives for things. I cant tell you how many times I have had to buy clothes and basic things. He pawns or sells anything and everything he can, I bought him a new pair of shoes for Xmas and a computer because he was going to start remote classes. I haven’t seen them since.


I’m sorry you’re going through this. I have the same problem with my boyfriend. At this point I can’t tell what drug, but I can tell when he’s used one. I suppose it’s all in the behavior but I think each individual is different, even with the same choice of drug. I see nodding off if it’s heroin or high amounts of Percocet, voice is hoarse, and not moving a lot, an old friend was using crack and I noticed not eating, sleeping, too many topics in conversations that didn’t really have to do with anything we started talking about, also not caring about hygiene or care for the home, I also seen the opposite with cocaine, talking too much and too fast, wanting to keep everything cleaned but not hungry at all. It’s really so different for so many, but with my boyfriend, he will get offended for drug test, only if he knows that it’s going to be dirty, I already realized that so when he’s mad about taking one, I already know why. Hope you can find what you are looking for, communication is best, not always easy, I understand how you’re feeling. It’s very overwhelming. God bless you.


I have a hard time knowing. Early in their use it was obvious with the appearance changes, personality changes, pinned or enlarged pupils, etc. At this point, some of those things are just always there now and it’s harder to know. I would say my kids are either high or coming down from a high at all times.

When my son lived with us before, our rule was he couldn’t live here and use at the same time (what was I thinking?!?) so I would drug test him. I would also find bottles of urine stashed in the bathroom cabinet, etc. I’d find the urine, he’d deny it was his (uh… I don’t think it’s ME saving urine for a rainy day, but ok LOL). I found that me testing him also meant I needed to snoop everywhere to make sure there was no urine stashed, and that really just hurt me.

I also used to spend a ton of time sneaking in his room, searching until I’d find proof he was using. As if I needed proof right? I’d search, I’d find something, I’d confront him, he’d deny it, we’d argue. Same scenario every time. The fact that I was searching said that I already knew he was. So why hurt my own heart more with a visual representation of what my heart already knew.


you crack me up.

(uh… I don’t think it’s ME saving urine for a rainy day, but ok LOL).

Thank God for humor- it makes some of this more bearable.


Hi @Deanna1, same here, you have the evidence right there and they just deny, deny, deny. He used to try to hide it, but not anymore and I can tell he has been using just by looking at him and his personality gets nasty like I am the problem. He is just a totally different person.


Just might be. Mine uses heroin and meth simultaneously. They kind of cancel each other out for him and that’s when he acts the most “normal.” I’ve learned to look at his pupils. If they’re large, I know he’s been using meth more. If they’re pinpoint, he’s got mainly heroin on board. Those are the times when he’s either more manic or nodding out, respectively. IMO there is no truly “sober” moment.


It’s really all so sad when I read all of this, each of our stories, just because we are all so worried about our loved ones and need help ourselves, they really don’t understand that as long as they are using, I pray for sober days to come for them and happier days for all of us because we need them. I’m grateful for all of you, where we all as strangers become family through this. I pray for hope, peace and joy in our hearts and minds to come again one day. :pray::heart:️:pray::heart:


With my sons I could tell when they were using because of 1) who they were hanging with and 2) they would avoid me for the most part


Hi @Lilsis69 thanks for contributing to the conversation. Whenever my son goes on radio silence.… i.e., no calls, no texts, I get that lousy feeling that he’s using again. It isn’t only that he’s using, but that he is also going down into the well of despair and the overwhelm of his situation.

Improving my communication with him- even with the most mundane subjects gives me some peace because he is alone a lot and is lonely. Fortunately, right now he’s doing AA and actively trying to do the steps with a new club. He tried Smart Recovery, but he outsmarted it and couldn’t find an honest balance. Anyway, avoidance and little/no communication is a surefire way for me to tell that my person is struggling. :peace_symbol:


@Lilsis69 mine avoid me when using also!


Yes, the so called “friends”, he truly believes these people care about him. I get so mad because they are not. These “friends” left him to OVERDOSE alone. Thankfully one had a conscience and called 911 for him. He doesn’t understand that you can’t hang with addicts trying to get clean.


My son avoided me when he was drinking and or using. I always suspected something but couldn’t prove anything. in hindsight my gut was right. My heart goes out to everyone in the village.


@Letty14 it is incredibly sad to read all of our stories but I, too, am praying that we each find some sense of peace and comfort with each other. Praying for all of us.:pray:t2: