How you can help your child if you suspect drug abuse

Drug abuse is a serious social problem in South Africa, statistics recognise that drug abuse is even higher among youth. At Sparrow Schools we aim to prevent and stop the abuse. We do so by investigating and provide intervention when we suspect drug abuse.

Because drug abuse can lead to school dropout and other severe social problems we aim to inform parents and guardians about the possible signs and symptoms of drug abuse. Parents and guardians play a significant role in monitoring your child’s behaviour to ensure that they receive help as soon as possible. Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Change in pupil (Dilated or constricted)
  • Red eyes
  • Sudden weight loss

If your child is also showing abrupt changes in their attitude, behaviour, habits and priorities they might be exposed to drug abuse. A more common indicator is if your child is also experiencing financial problems (pocket money often going missing) or start to become involved in criminal activity. From our experience learners experiment with social habits that are not as addictive as synthetic drugs. When the learners experience with these social habits such as ‘Hooka pipe’ ‘hubbly’ they don’t realise that the contents are combined with contraband. In most cases the content is mixed with Heroin or Methamphetamine.

If you suspect that your child could be involved with drug abuse, confront them in a neutral environment. Help your child understand why you are concerned by referring to suspicious behaviour and give them the opportunity to proof their innocence through a urine drug test. These drug tests are available at most pharmacies and is easy to use. As a social worker I encourage a drug-free society and encourage all parents and guardians to intervene if they suspect any abuse. More information on rehabilitation is available from

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