There is not a common list of symptoms that you can use to tell if someone is misusing drugs. That's because drug use affects different people in different ways. Signs to look out for can be one or more of the following:

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviours
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Dealing with someone on drugs

If you suspect anyone of being under the influence of drugs then you must notify your Manager/ Supervisor/ Door Staff of your concerns immediately.

You may refuse to serve the suspected individual and/or ask them to vacate the premises immediately. If they do not cooperate or they become abusive or aggressive then you must contact the police for assistance.

Dealing with someone suffering the effects of drug abuse

Look for signs of drug abuse. These can be one or more of the following;

  • Problems with vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure) are possible and can be life threatening.
  • Sleepiness, confusion, and coma are common and can be dangerous if the person breathes vomit into the lungs (aspirated).
  • Skin can be cool and sweaty, or hot and dry.
  • Chest pain is possible and can be caused by heart or lung damage. Shortness of breath may occur. Breathing may get rapid, slow, deep, or shallow.
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea are possible. Vomiting blood, or blood in bowel movements, can be life threatening.

If you notice someone having any of these symptoms and they are unconscious or semi-conscious then move them into the recovery position and call the emergency services as soon as you can. Await their assistance, but make sure there are no sharp or dangerous objects around the individual.