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May 19, 2019

How to Tell if Someone is High

Do you know how to tell if someone is high? It can be difficult to determine whether or not an individual is on drugs. By knowing which signs to look for, you’ll be better prepared in getting them the help they need in the future.

It’s important to note that each drug will present different signs and symptoms.  That’s why it can be difficult to know which drug is of concern when dealing with an addict. Regardless if it’s marijuana abuse or another substance, it is never easy watching a loved one struggle with an addiction.

One of the best ways to help an addict is to fully understand their addiction first. Once you know how their choice of drug affects them, you’ll be better prepared to support them during their recovery process.

Recognizing if Someone is High: The Signs to Watch For

Knowing whether or not an individual is high can be challenging, especially if you are unaware of the different effects of various substances. Below is a breakdown of common drugs abused and their accompanying symptoms. Once you have become aware of the different symptoms, you’ll have an easier time knowing which drug is being abused.

Effects of Marijuana/Cannabis

The symptoms of being high on marijuana can include increased appetite, altered judgment and perception, bloodshot eyes, difficulty keeping the eyes open, uncontrollable and excessive laughter, dry mouth, and a sense of temporary euphoria. Individuals smoking marijuana may also appear to be forgetful, uncoordinated, have delayed motor skills, or experience short-term memory loss. Other effects of marijuana abuse can include changes in mood and behavior.

Effects of Stimulants

Stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause accelerated speech patterns, dilated pupils, a heightened amount of energy, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and changes in behavior. If an individual has snorted the drug, they may also experience congestion.

Effects of Hallucinogens

Two of the most commonly used hallucinogens are LSD and PCP. Though they are both classified in the same category, they can still produce different signs and symptoms. When an individual has used LSD, they may develop dilated pupils, become confused or paranoid, experience nausea or vomiting, display a lack of coordination and balance, and appear to be experiencing a sense of euphoria. The effects of LSD can also cause the skin to become discolored for some individuals. Other less common symptoms that can develop include self-destructive behavior, anxiety, or panic.

An individual who has taken PCP, on the other hand, may display violent, aggressive, and/or abnormal behaviors that differ from their normal personality. Individuals abusing PCP may also appear to be flushed and sweating, have an inability to feel pain, or be incapable of perceiving sounds.

Effects of Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines

Barbiturates are medications that are sometimes used to treat patients undergoing surgery or those suffering from a seizure disorder. Benzodiazepines, on the other hand, are medications that are often prescribed to treat sleep disorders and anxiety, such as Xanax and Valium. An individual who is high on these drugs may appear to be dizzy, confused, have blurry vision, be unable to maintain their balance, or display depressive behavior.

Effects of Opiates

Opiates are drugs that can include both prescription medications and street drugs, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and heroin. The effects of opiates may include delayed reaction times, difficulty concentrating, general lethargy, changes in behavior, and mood swings. Opiates can also have an effect on an individual’s ability to digest food, which can lead to intestinal issues and constipation.

Early Intervention

Now that you know the warning signs to look for, you’ll be better prepared in determining whether or not your loved one is addicted to drugs. If you suspect that someone you love may be using drugs, get help immediately. Early intervention is critical when it comes to their long-term recovery.  Before talking to your loved one, it is important to research drug treatment programs and to consult with a professional interventionist to determine the best course of action for your loved one’s drug addiction.

For further assistance, contact our Florida addiction treatment center today.


  • American Addiction Centers. “How to Tell if Someone Is on Drugs: Opiates, Marijuana, and More.” Retrieved from
  • “Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use.” Retrieved from
  • “How to Tell If Someone Is High.” Retrieved from