Abusing drugs and alcohol

Recognize who is abusing drugs and medications?

Abusing drugs

Do you know who is using drugs around you? It’s not necessarily who you think or what you think!

Most people believe that prescription drugs are safe because a doctor prescribed them. The fact is they are only safe when prescribed and taken following the doctor’s specific orders. Proper usage of prescription drugs can help people protect their health and be more productive in life. But, prescription drugs are no safer when taken for non-medical or recreational purposes than illicit or street drugs. The misconception of prescription drugs as legal and safe, even when abused, is extreme.

Sources indicate that abuse is a serious problem, especially among teens and young adults. Parents and employers need to be aware of family and employees abusing drugs. Examples of at-risk prescription drugs include Percoset, Percodan, and Oxycontin. A drug like oxycontin is a synthetic opiate, which is very addictive. Often, those who abuse it eventually seek out easier to obtain and cheaper alternatives such as heroin.

Prescription drug abuse.

Abusing drugs

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines prescription drug abuse as prescription drugs such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives, without a doctor’s prescription simply for feeling or experience the drug causes. Prescription drug abuse has been identified as a growing problem in American workplaces.

How can you identify this abuse problem and help? There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent this type of drug abuse.

  • Make sure medications are taken as directed and not overused.
  • Don’t share or borrow medications.
  • Securely store and count prescription your pills. (Keep in mind, many teens and young adults get their drugs from their own family’s medicine cabinet)
  • To dispose of unused medications, mix them with an undesirable substance (e.g., used kitty litter, coffee grounds)
  • and finally, screen them with a simple drug test kit.

Drugs have different effects on people.  So how do you tell if someone is, in fact, abusing a drug? Some indicators may mimic symptoms of common illnesses such as a cold and are therefore difficult to detect. Other signs may be more obvious, though. If your coworkers frequently have accidents or exhibit erratic behavior, or have dilated pupils and slurred speech, this may indicate intoxication or drug use.

Other signs of people abusing drugs include extreme mood swings, paranoia, glassy eyes, and noticeable exhaustion. Frequent absences from work should also raise red flags. NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) estimates that drug users’ absenteeism is 66 percent higher than that of other employees. If you notice these symptoms, it is time to tell a supervisor and start workplace drug testing before the situation turns tragic. Identify drug abuse.

Here is a useful link to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

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