Milton Keynes 0-19 Service

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

People who are having alcohol or drug problems often try to hide the symptoms and play down the extent of their problem.

If you are worried that your child is drinking too much or taking drugs then watch out for the following warning signs that something may be wrong.

Physical health

  • Bloodshot eyes, small or large pupils
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and personal hygiene
  • Shakes, slurred speech, or clumsiness.

Emotional wellbeing

  • Unexplained changes in personality or attitude
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, paranoia or anxiety
  • Lethargic or ‘spaced out’ appearance.


  • Reduced performance or attendance at school
  • Financial problems, borrowing money
  • Secretive or suspicious behaviour
  • Sudden change in friends and social activities.

These changes may sometimes be associated with drug and alcohol use.

If you’re worried that these changes might be associated with drug and alcohol use then the first step is to talk to your child about it. You can speak to our school nurses if you need advice and support.

You can also read more about drug and alcohol abuse and how to get help and treatment on NHS Choices.

Read more about drugs on NHS Choices

Read more about alcohol misuse on NHS Choices