How do you know if your child is using dangerous drugs like heroin? There are several warning signs that parents and loved ones can look for, and identifying them early is important.

(Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

According to Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, says there are always clear warning signs, especially with drugs such as heroin. Some signs your child may have a heroin problem:

  • They’re spending time with a different group of friends.
  • Nodding off frequently and at inappropriate times, such as at the dinner table.
  • Constant itching, "to a point where they’re distracting other members of the family," Valente said.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Loss of valuables in the home “because they need to support their habit, so they might start selling things off.”

"If these things are happening…make sure you take steps," Valente said. “There’s no more important step than getting help for that child as quickly as possible."

For more on the growing heroin epidemic in New Jersey and it's impact on teens, check out our series "Drugs and Our Kids," which will appear throughout the week. Click below to view the first two stories in the series: