Drug Addiction

2:16 pm alcohol, drug abuse

In 2011, there were 1.765 deaths due to drug overdoses in Ohio.  An Ohioan died every five hours from a drug overdose in the same year.  From 1997 to 2010, the average number of painkillers such as Oxycontin prescribed per Ohioan jumped from seven to sixty-seven.  Heroin involved deaths are continuing to rise from 16 percent (233) in 2008 to a high of 24.1 percent (426) of all drug overdose fatalities in 2011.  Since 1999, drug overdose deaths have leaped by 440 percent in Ohio.  For the fourth straight year, unintentional drug overdoses continue to be the leading cause of injury-related death in the Buckeye State, topping traffic crashes, suicides, and falls. (All statistics from the Columbus Dispatch, April 27, 2013, A1 A8; “Ohioans overdosing on painkillers, heroin” by Alan Johnson).
In view of the rising number of drug users and addicts and the rise in deaths due to drug abuse, each person should become knowledgeable of the signs of drug abuse.  In an article entitled, 20 Secret Signs of Addiction, Melanie Haiken gives a list of things to look for if you suspect drug abuse. (Yahoo Health, Mar. 14, 2011).
1.  Quantity Control.  Over time, a higher tolerance to alcohol or drugs leads people with addiction problems to increase the quantity and frequency of their substance of choice without showing signs of loss of control.
2.  Hide and Seek Around the House.  Pills or bottles of alcohol may turn up in unexpected places.  Pills are generally kept in a medicine cabinet.  But, what if you find a bottle of pills in the cookie jar?
3.  The disappearing act.  Missing jewelry?  Money? Cameras?  Selling items to raise money for drugs is common among abusers.
4.  A Head Start.  Drinking before going out with friends to drink.  Then, you attempt to give the appearance of drinking the same amount as friends.
5.  Tricks and Manipulation.  Hiding an addiction leads to constant subterfuge.  The addict becomes adept at lying.  Are you having trouble believing your spouse when he/she tells you where they have been and what they have been doing?
6.  The Money Magnet.  Drugs are expensive.  Bar tabs are too!  Are you having financial problems?  Problems paying the rent? Utilities?
7.  The Clear Choice.  Vodka is the drink of choice by alcoholics because it is clear and looks like water.  Vodka can also be mixed with other drinks (iced tea for example) and be disguised.
8.  Missing in Action.  Repeated failure to show up at a birthday party, graduation, or some other important family event is a sign of addiction. An addict becomes unreliable and secretive.
9.  A Narrower World.  As addiction takes hold, it tends to block out other interests and activities that were important.  Lost interest in hobbies or sporting events and even church attendance and functions.
10.  Magic Bottles.  A bottle that never seems to get empty may be a sign of addiction.  Addicts hide bottles of alcohol in strange places (in the water tank in the back of the commode).
11.  Can I Try The Diet You’re On?  Crystal meth, cocaine and other “uppers” stimulate energy to the point that people feel they can go without eating.  A side effect of this is weight loss.  Do you know someone who is losing weight but is not on a diet?
12.  Squeaky Clean.  Constant use of gum or breath mints to cover up the smell of alcohol is a sign of addiction.
13.  The Bathroom game.  Prescription drugs are commonly found in the bathroom medicine cabinet.  When visiting the home of others, addicts will raid the medicine cabinet and take pills.
14.  Mood Management.  Many family members describe the emotional experience of living with an alcoholic or addict as a roller coaster ride.  Unstable moods, and unpredictable emotions are exhibited by addicts.
15.  Sleeping Sickness?  Alcohol and many types of drugs are sedatives or “downers.” They make you sleep and sleep heavily.   Have trouble holding down a job?  Are you sleeping in the day time and at night?
16.  Pain That Never Ends.  Back pain is one of the most common excuses for requests for more and more pain medication.  Do you know someone who is regularly changing doctors in order to get different types of narcotics?
17.  Sickness Without a Cause.  Addicts are often ill.  They have chronic physical problems.  They have low energy, fatigue, and depression.
18.  Paranoia and Panic Attacks.  Attacks of paranoia are often associated with addiction.  Addicts can develop social anxieties, fear of public places, and avoidance of public gatherings.  Isolation results.
19.  Storyteller.  Addicts become adept at telling stories to others to gain sympathy.  They lie to family members, bosses, doctors, the police and even the minister.  Some of these stories are difficult to verify.
20.  The Blame Game.  Denial produces blame.  The addict blames others for his/her problems.  Guilt-tripping is a common tactic.  The addict attempts to shift responsibility away from himself to others for all of the problems encountered.  The home often becomes a war-zone.  Hostility and violence are common.  Peace is gone.  How many times have the police been called to your home?
In the next blog, we will look at what you can do if a person you love is abusing drugs.

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