How to Tell If a Kid Is Selling Drugs

Drug use often has dangerous ramifications for a young person. If you have concerns about even more serious drug involvement and think that your child might be selling drugs, it’s imperative to take proactive steps to counsel your child about the possible results of these actions. By examining your child’s behavior, you have clues that should indicate whether drug dealing is a possibility.

Assess your child’s spending patterns to determine whether the spending indicates an unknown income, advises Joseph A. Califano, author of “How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents,” and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter (1977-1979) 1. Most teenagers have enough money to fund basic activities, but if you notice extravagant spending, this could be a result of drug-dealing income.

Check your child’s room to see whether you find equipment used for selling drugs. People selling drugs usually use a small kitchen scale to weigh and package drugs prior to sale, according to George E. Leary, Jr., a 24-year veteran of working with troubled youth, and author of “What’s Wrong with My Kid?” Look for small containers, plastic bags and razors, which drug dealers often use for dividing and packaging drugs for sale 2.

Watch for indications that your child might be using drugs in addition to selling them. A youngster might resort to selling drugs to finance a drug habit. If you notice unusual odors, such as sweet, acidic or sulfuric; or aromas designed to hide other odors, this might suggest drug usage, according to Leary. Unusual and disturbing behavior, such as sleepiness, overeating and personality changes might accompany drug use. Finding matches, lighters or syringes in your child’s possessions could be cause for concern.

Speak with your child if you have concerns about drug dealing, advises drug and alcohol addiction expert Dr. Howard C. Samuels, a licensed therapist with a doctorate in clinical psychology, with the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles. Discuss the specific behaviors you have seen that concern you, and tell your youngster that she cannot engage in this conduct while living in your home. It may be appropriate to tell your child that you will involve the authorities if she does not respond cooperatively to your concerns.


Drug dealing can put your entire family in grave danger, including other children living in your home. Follow through with your statements about consequences for drug dealing, if necessary, to keep your family safe. If your child is dealing drugs to support his own drug habit, seek professional intervention to treat the addiction. After telling your child that he cannot live in your home and sell drugs, take steps to relocate him out of your home if he does not stop selling.