The United States is currently in the worst drug crisis in American history. In 2015 and 2016 combined, more than 92,000 people died from drug overdoses, and many of them were from prescription opioids. This epidemic affects 2.5 million Americans, nearly half a million of whom are addicted to heroin which opioid addicts turn to, because the cost is significantly less than that of prescription painkillers.
Opioids being abused most:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco)
This crisis needs to be solved and it needs to be a joint effort by the people closest to those struggling with addiction. The people abusing these prescriptions obviously know how it affects them and changes their behavior, but once they become addicted they do not care about the consequences that come with their addiction. It is up to those around the abuser, such as family and friends to notice the warning signs of prescription opioid abuse.
Once these warning signs are noticed a conversation can be initiated and hopefully the person will begin to see how this addiction is changing their life negatively. The goal is to get this person into treatment before the effects of the addiction have become substantial and it is important to remember that it is never too late to get treatment.
While it might seem like anyone could pick up on behavior signs that are out of the ordinary, it actually may be more difficult than you may think because there’s not necessarily an obvious telltale sign. Opioids don’t leave a scent on clothes or breath the way alcohol would, and while heroin users may have track marks on their arms, someone whose addiction takes the form of pills wouldn’t have any such markings.
So what are some things to look for when determining if someone is struggling with opioids?
We’ve listed a few of some of the possible signs below:
Drowsiness: One of the main signs of an opioid addiction is sudden and unexplainable drowsiness. Not a common drowsiness as we all have after an exhausting event or at the end of a day, but a drowsiness more likely in the middle of a conversation.
Change of hygiene: If you know someone that takes pride in their appearance and has a daily routine of getting ready that suddenly starts neglecting their hygiene, take notice. This can be one of the easier signs to spot as you are physically able to see changes in appearance. Neglected hygiene also shows that was once important to someone is no longer important and there is often a reason behind that. This is a sign that can not only be seen with opioids but most substances.
Odd sleeping patterns: Again, if the person has an obvious reason for being tired then it is likely nothing, but people naturally tend to have routine sleeping patterns and if that changes dramatically try asking them about it. If you know someone that normally gets 6-8 hours of sleep and then all of a sudden they are sleeping barely at all or 10+ hours this could be a sign of addiction. If you don’t live with this person it can be difficult to tell what their sleeping pattern is like, but you may be able to notice things such as bags under their eyes, bloodshot eyes or excessive yawning.
Confusion: As you tend to spend a lot of time with this person and know how they naturally respond you can probably begin to pick up on this person’s loss of concentration and possible general confusion in simple conversations or situations. This one may be difficult to spot since we all get confused and spaced out from time to time, but in this situation you may be able to feel that something just isn’t right.
There are other minor signs of opioid addiction, but these four are a great starting point.
In the end the best thing you can do is to listen to your intuition. Sometimes we can’t explain why we’re thinking something but for some reason we just can’t shake that feeling, that’s our intuition talking to us. Don’t ignore it as this can be our greatest tool for helping our family and friends get into treatment.
When you know something just doesn’t feel right, try spending a day with that person and potentially ask them how they’re doing. If it turns out they’re not abusing a substance and they’re just going through a tough time then they probably enjoyed you hanging out with them and making them feel a little bit better.
However, if they are abusing prescription opioids or any other substance give us a call at (877) 212-8299 and we will help them find the treatment center that is a perfect fit for their needs.
We are available to answer calls 24/7 and a treatment specialist will be there to help you or someone you know get the treatment they need.