Unfortunately, not all drug abuse cases are linked to heroin or cocaine. According to Trust for America’s Health, more people are dying from abusing prescription drugs rather than using a combination of heroin and cocaine. The nonprofit organization’s report also showed that the highest death rate among the 6.1 million addicts is at an all time high at 28.9 in 100,000 people. If you want to make sure that your loved one doesn’t become part of these statistics, it’s about time that you start watching them closely.
If you’re the parent of a teen, the age group which abuses prescription drugs the most, or a concerned loved one, here are the steps you should follow, either to put your mind at ease or take immediate action.
Step 1 Check the Medicine Cabinet
Take a look in your loved one’s medicine cabinet and find any painkillers, depressants or stimulants. If you’re a parent, you may need to search your child’s room for a bottle of pills stashed away. Once you find one of these types of prescription pills, check how many pills have been used prior to the refill date. This will give you an idea of your loved one’s consumption rate.
Step 2 Monitor Your Loved One for Telltale Signs
Before you jump into any conclusions, make sure that your loved one is actually abusing the pills you found. Addicts usually show physical, behavioral and psychological signs that warn others of their problem.
- Bloodshot eyes and dilated/contracted pupils
- Change in appetite and sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Lack of grooming
- Obnoxious smell on breath or body
- Shivers, slurred speech and/or lack of coordination
- Lower attendance or performance at school or work
- Excessive need for money and resorting to theft when denied a loan
- Change in choice of friends, hobbies and hangouts
- Inexplicable anger and frequent fights or accidents
- Any behavior you deem suspicious or secretive
- Sudden change in personality or attitude towards life and people
- Mood swings or irritability
- Unusual hyperactivity or giddiness
- Lack of motivation and lethargy
- Paranoid for no reason
- Constant complaints about aches, pains or symptoms to get more prescription medicines
You should also be on the lookout for withdrawal symptoms as some prescription drug addicts try to kick the habit themselves. Some of the top withdrawal signs you should look out for include excessive sweating, insomnia and inability to process information properly.
Step 3 Gather More Evidence
If you notice most of the aforementioned signs, you should become more alert and start collecting more evidence to confront your loved one. One thing you can do is keep an eye on bags from different pharmacies or the shipments coming to your home. A shipment from an online pharmacy will appear on your credit card statement but under a non-identifying name. So, take a good look at the latest transactions, especially around the time the pills were packaged.
Another thing you should do is contact your physician and find out if your child, relative or friend has sought their help to get prescription drugs. Now you may have to ask around, especially from former friends of your loved one, if they have been heading to other physicians for prescriptions. This will take some time on your behalf, but it will save you from embarrassment and ensure that your loved one gets the treatment they need.
You can also check the potential addict’s clothes and wallet. As some prefer to crush the pills, you may want to check their credit cards, student ID or any plastic card for powdery residue or dents in the center.
If the results of these steps indicate that your loved one is abusing prescription drugs, you need to stage an intervention as soon as possible. Through it, coax your child, friend or relative to go for a drug rehab program. Tell them that you will be with them all the way and make sure that you keep your promises. Finally, make sure that they stick to the program and don’t drop out in the middle of their treatment.
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