I recently heard that Southeastern Indiana is the prescription drug capital of Indiana, and the Tri-State area. Drug addiction is a national crisis not just a local community problem.
Prescription drug addiction affects teenagers, adults, and seniors and has a major impact on family, friends, and the economic and legal systems of any community.
When an individual becomes addicted to prescription drugs or any other drug, the effect is always negative.
As a Christian minister and an Alcohol and Drug Counselor, my desire is to find help for the individual struggling with an addiction and those that have been affected by the addict: family, friends, co-workers, fellow church members, etc.
It has been stated by various sources over the years that one quarter of the population in the USA is affected daily by addiction, either as the addict, a family member attempting to cope with the person using or as a victim of a crime resulting in the need for drugs.
There are four key areas that family and friends can watch for in someone suspected of prescription drug use:
1. How their drug use has affected the family.
2. Criminality, have they got legal charges or should they have as a result their drug use.
3. Any change in the user’s health.
4. Any changes in the user’s spirituality or morality.
I recommend that family and friends watch for the following:
Changes in lifestyle - spending time in new places that seem out of character or questionable.
Changes in behavior - stealing or lying.
Changes in financial behavior - wasting a lot of money with no good explanation.
Changes in ambition - grades in school or job performance drop, showing a lack of motivation and self-discipline.
Changes in energy - a child or adult that usually has a lot of energy may now sleep a lot, or someone that normally appears casual is now extremely hyper.
Changes in appearance - a very common sign of drug involvement is the individual’s personal hygiene is worsening.
Changes in coordination - the individual may stumble and fall.
Changes in thinking - thoughts may be odd or bizarre.
Changes in friends - or just spending time with different people. Keep in mind that they may be spending time with good clean kids, but those kids may be involved with drugs.
Changes in activities and relationships - more time is spent away from home, friends or familiar people.
I realize that as family or a friend, you struggle to find the right answer for helping the individual that is struggling with their prescription or other drug addiction. I personally recommend the following suggestion to begin with:
Ask others if they are seeing the same things you are.
Call a local support group such as Al-non or other groups that support family and friends of alcohol or addicts to get support.
Intervention (confronting the individual alone or with a group of loved ones) is one way of helping. If the individual is a young person, you should always seek and have the full support of the parents.
Helping people overcome alcohol and drug addiction, cope with the recovery process, and knowing the right answers is hard to share with someone addicted.
I believe that it is important that we become aware of the problem that our family and friends are facing, and support them in finding help and achieving there need for recovery.
Dr. Don Allen, Jr. is founder/director of Through HIM Ministries.