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Straight Facts

Counsleing youth

Straight Facts About Drugs and Alcohol

How Can I Tell If a Friend or a Loved One Has a Problem With Alcohol, Marijuana, or Other Illicit Drugs?

Sometimes it is tough to tell. Most people won’t walk up to someone they’re close to and ask for help. In fact, they will probably do everything possible to deny or hide the problem. But, there are certain warning signs that may indicate that a family member or friend is using drugs and drinking too much alcohol.

If your friend or loved one has one or more of the following signs, he or she may have a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • Getting high on drugs or getting drunk on a regular basis
  • Lying about things, or the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using
  • Avoiding you and others in order to get high or drunk
  • Giving up activities they used to do such as sports, social events, or even hanging out with friends who don’t use drugs or drink
  • Having to use more marijuana or other illicit drugs to get the same effects
  • Constantly talking about using drugs or drinking
  • Believing that in order to have fun they need to drink or use marijuana or other drugs
  • Pressuring others to use drugs or drink
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Taking risks, including sexual risks and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Feeling run-down, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Missing work or poor work performance because of drinking or drug use

Many of the signs, such as sudden changes in mood, difficulty in getting along with others, poor job performance, irritability, and depression, might be explained by other causes. Unless you observe drug use or excessive drinking, it can be hard to determine the cause of these problems. Your first step is to contact a qualified alcohol and drug professional in your area who can give you further advice.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Problem with Drugs or Alcohol?

Drug and alcohol problems can affect every one of us regardless of age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle.

You may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, if:

  • You can’t predict whether or not you will use drugs or get drunk.
  • You believe that in order to have fun you need to drink and/or use drugs.
  • You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings.
  • You drink more or use more drugs to get the same effect that you got with smaller amounts.
  • You drink and/or use drugs alone.
  • You remember how last night began, but not how it ended, so you’re worried you may have a problem.
  • You have trouble at work because of your drinking or drug use.
  • You make promises to yourself or others that you’ll stop getting drunk or using drugs.
  • You feel alone, scared, miserable, and depressed.

If you have experienced any of the above problems, take heart, help is available. More than a million Americans like you have taken charge of their lives and are living healthy and drug-free.

When you’re struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by addressing the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up—even if you’ve tried and failed before. The road to recovery often involves bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, you’re already on your way.

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

Marijuana

  1. Cannabis is number three, of the top five substances which account for admissions to drug treatment facilities in the United States.
  2. Marijuana is sometimes laced with crack cocaine or PCP {phencyclidine, a powerful hallucinogen}.
  3. Consuming one “joint” gives as much exposure to cancer producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes.
  4. Cannabis is one of the few drugs which cause abnormal cell division which leads to severe hereditary defects. Children of marijuana users have been born with reduced initiative and lessened abilities to concentrate and pursue life goals.

 

Alcohol

  1. Alcohol related motor accidents are the second leading cause of teen deaths in the United States.
  2. For every one ounce of alcohol that is consumed it takes one hour to metabolize and dissipate in the human body.
  3. Binge drinking for a man is defined as five or more drinks at one time and four or more drinks at one time for a woman.

 

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

Cocaine/Crack

  1. In 1886 John Pemberton included coca leaves as an ingredient in a new soft drink, Coca-Cola. It’s euphoric and energizing effects skyrocketed its popularity by the turn of the century. Danger of the drug cocaine became evident and it was removed in 1903.
  2. Cocaine is usually mixed with other substances such as corn starch or talcum powder; it can even be mixed with crushed glass.
  3. Crack cocaine is the crystal form of cocaine. It is named crack because when it is heated it makes a cracking or popping sound when heated.
  4. Crack cocaine is far stronger and more potent than regular cocaine.

 

Prescription Pain killers

  1. The most powerful painkillers are the opiates.
  2. Opiates originally derived from the opium poppy. Dietary poppy seeds became a problem in normal laboratory testing so the cut-off level was raised to 2000 ng/ml.
  3. Oxycodone is the generic name and Oxycontine is the brand name; they are both the same.
  4. Oxycontin reacts to the nervous system like heroin, often referred to as “Hillbilly Heroin” and is among the hardest of all to “kick.” Because of its availability, it has become as popular as marijuana and cocaine.

 

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

Methamphetamine/ Crystal Meth

  1. Methamphetamine is a synthetic {man-made} chemical manufactured by the mixing of various stimulant drugs {such as cold remedies} with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze.
  2. The drug effect generally lasts from six to eight hours, but can last up to 24 hours.
  3. First time use renders someone addicted.
  4. Because methamphetamine is a foreign substance, the human body does not know how to metabolize it so it comes out through the pores of the skin. This affects the histamine in the skin which causes what is called “crank bugs” and that is the reason meth users pick and scratch their face and body causing sores.

Messages of Wisdom

Know the law. Methamphetamines, marijuana, hallucinogens, crack, cocaine, and many other substances are illegal. Depending on where you are caught, and the situation, you could face high fines and jail time. Alcohol is illegal to buy or possess if you are under 21.

  • Be aware of the risks. Drinking or using drugs increases the risk of injury. Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, and suicide are all linked to drug use.
  • Play it safe. One incident of drug use could make you do something that you will regret for a lifetime.
  • Do the smart thing. Using drugs puts your job, health, education, family ties, and social life at risk.
  • Face your problems. Using drugs can ruin your looks, make you depressed and they won’t help you escape your problems, it will only create more.
  • Be a real friend. If you know someone with a drug problem, be part of the solution. Urge your friend or family member to get help.
  • Remember, you DON’T NEED drugs or alcohol. If you think “everybody’s doing it,” you’re wrong!

How Can I Get Help?

You can get help for yourself or for a friend or loved one from numerous national, State, and local organizations, treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country. There are various kinds of treatment services and centers. For example, some may involve outpatient counseling, while others may be 3- to 5-week-long inpatient programs.

While you or your friend or loved one may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research shows that when appropriate treatment is given, and when clients follow their prescribed program, treatment can work. By reducing alcohol and/or drug abuse, treatment reduces costs to society in terms of medical care, law enforcement, and crime. More importantly, treatment can help keep you and your loved ones together.

Remember, some people may go through treatment a number of times before they are in full recovery. Do not give up hope!

Each community has its own resources. Some available common referral sources are:

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