Our national opioid addictions crisis affects 2.5 million individuals. The state-to-state statistics are devastating, and we are continuing to see the impact of this epidemic rise. It feels like a public health crisis both out-of-control because it is unsurpassed in American history.
I usually appeal to professionals who are exposed to high-risk drug abusers, but this epidemic is so prominent almost everyone is in a position to witness the signs of potential opioid abuse and addictions.
Perhaps if more of us are on high alert for those in our sphere of influence who might be struggling with opioid addiction, we might be able to prevent lifelong consequences from this addiction or even death by overdose.
According to drugabuse.com, these signs and symptoms may tell you if someone may be abusing an opiate.
Physical signs that someone may be abusing an opiate include:
- Noticeable elation/euphoria
- Marked sedation/drowsiness
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed breathing
- Intermittent nodding off, or loss of consciousness
Other signs of opiate abuse include:
- Doctor shopping (getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors)
- Shifting or dramatically changing moods
- Extra pill bottles turning up in the trash
- Social withdrawal/isolation
- Sudden financial problems
Withdrawal symptoms can mimic flu symptoms and include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to sleep
It is my hope we all will have a new lens for opioid addiction as we interact with family members, co-workers, clients, friends and others.
We all need this level of awareness so we can be ready to offer help, support and treatment to those who may be impacted by this growing epidemic.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO