Serving The Entire State of Florida
1-(877)-35-ABUSE

What are some of the signs drug or alcohol abuse?

Any of the indicators below may be signs of a serious, potential substance abuse problem, which could warrant action under the Florida Marchman Act.

  • The person begins talking about experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
  • The person has been found in possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • The person admits using drugs or alcohol.
  • The person begins having run-in’s or problems with law enforcement.
  • The person begins having problems with school or work.
  • The person has been having problems with authority figures.
  • The person begins to express concern of a loss of control over their life.
  • The person begins to show a lack of motivation or concern for their future.
  • The person begins to neglect their appearance or hygiene.
  • The person begins to have unexpected weight loss.
  • The person begins stealing/borrowing money.
  • The person begins to develop a poor self-image.
  • The person begins to change friends.
  • The person begins to change in dress or appearance.
  • The person begins to slip in grades or job performance.
  • The person begins to skip school, classes or work.
  • The person begins to lie or have manipulative or deceptive behavior.
  • The person begins to show disrespect or disregard of family or core moral values.
  • The person runs away from home or home-life.
  • The person begins ignoring curfews or house rules.
  • The person experiences or demonstrates violent outbursts or hostility toward friends and or family.
  • The person begins to be depressed or withdrawn.
  • The person begins to injure themselves or others.
  • The person begins to possess unexplained valuables.
  • The person begins to take valuable items or money from your purse, wallet or home.
  • The person begins to lose interest in healthy activities.
  • The person begins to be verbally or physically abusive.
  • The person begins to have glassy/red eyes or dilated pupils.
  • The person begins to develop slurred speech.
  • The person begins to develop reckless or inappropriate behavior.

The Mayo Clinic has compiled the following “Symptoms” of addictive behavior for specific drugs ranging from marijuana to painkillers.

-By Mayo Clinic staff

Most drug addictions start with casual or social use of a drug. For some people, using the drug becomes a habit, and its use becomes more and more frequent. As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug just to feel good. As your drug use increases, you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Stopping may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms).

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include:

  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
  • Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
  • Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
  • Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
  • Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
  • Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug

Recognizing drug abuse in teenagers:

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish normal teenage moodiness or angst from signs of drug use. Possible indications that your teenager is using drugs include:

  • Problems at school. Frequently missing classes or missing school, a sudden disinterest in school or school activities, or a drop in grades may be indicators of drug use.
  • Physical health issues. Lack of energy and motivation may indicate your child is using certain drugs.
  • Neglected appearance. Teenagers are generally concerned about how they look. A lack of interest in clothing, grooming or looks may be a warning sign of drug use.
  • Changes in behavior. Teenagers enjoy privacy, but exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering their rooms or knowing where they go with their friends might indicate drug use. Also, drastic changes in behavior and in relationships with family and friends may be linked to drug use.
  • Spending money. Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation for its use may be a sign of drug use. You may also discover money stolen from previously safe places at home. Items may disappear from your home because they’re being sold to support a drug habit.

Recognizing signs of drug use and dependence:

The particular signs and symptoms of drug use and dependence vary depending on the type of drug. You might be able to tell that a family member or a friend is using or abusing a drug based on the physical and behavioral signs and symptoms associated with the drug.

Marijuana (pot) and hashish:

It’s possible to develop a psychological addiction to cannabis compounds including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana and hashish. People who have a marijuana addiction generally use the drug on a daily basis. They don’t actually have a chemical dependence on the drug but rather feel the need to regularly use the drug.

Signs of use and dependence can include:

  • A heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception
  • Poor memory
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Decreased coordination
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Paranoid thinking

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines:

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are prescription central nervous system depressants. Phenobarbital, amobarbital (Amytal) and secobarbital (Seconal) are examples of barbiturates. Benzodiazepines include tranquilizers, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium). If you’re prescribed these drugs, take them exactly as ordered. If you feel your need for these medications is increasing, talk to your doctor.

Signs of use and dependence can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing and decreased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Depression

Methamphetamine, cocaine and other stimulants

This class of drugs includes amphetamines, methamphetamine (crystal meth), cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Signs of use and dependence can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rapid speech
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression as the drug wears off
  • Nasal congestion and damage to the mucous membrane of the nose in users who snort drugs
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure and temperature
  • Paranoia

Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” is a particularly dangerous drug. It’s highly addictive and causes a number of short-term and long-term health consequences. Methamphetamine is relatively inexpensive and widely available.

Club drugs:

Club drugs are drugs commonly used by teens and young adults at clubs, concerts and parties. Examples include Ecstasy (MDMA), GHB, Rohypnol (“roofies”) and ketamine. These drugs are not all classified in the same category, but they share some similar effects and dangers.

Signs of club drug use and dependence can include:

  • An exaggerated feeling of great happiness or well-being (euphoria)
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • A heightened or altered sense of sight, sound and taste
  • Amphetamine-like effects (with ketamine and Ecstasy)
  • Decreased coordination
  • Poor judgment
  • Memory problems or loss of memory
  • Increased or decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Drowsiness and loss of consciousness (with GHB and Rohypnol)

GHB and Rohypnol are particularly dangerous. At high doses, they can cause seizures, coma and death. The danger increases when these drugs are taken with alcohol. Because they worsen consciousness and memory and they’re easy to give someone without his or her knowledge or consent, these drugs are both commonly used as date-rape drugs.

One particular danger of club drugs is that the liquid, pill or powder forms of these drugs available on the street often contain unknown substances that can be harmful, including other illegally manufactured or pharmaceutical drugs.

Hallucinogens:

Use of hallucinogens produces different signs and symptoms depending on the drug. The most common hallucinogens are LSD (acid) and phencyclidine (PCP).

Signs of LSD use include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Greatly reduced perception of reality, for example, interpreting input from one of your senses as another, such as hearing colors
  • Permanent mental changes in perception
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Flashbacks, a re-experience of the hallucinations — even years later

Signs of PCP use include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Delusions
  • Panic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Aggressive, possibly violent behavior

Inhalants:

The signs and symptoms of inhalant use vary depending on what substance is inhaled. Some commonly inhaled substances include glue, paint thinners, correction fluid, felt tip marker fluid, gasoline, cleaning fluids and household aerosol products.

When inhaled, these products can cause brief intoxication and a decreased feeling of inhibition. Long-term use may cause seizures and damage to the brain, liver and kidneys. Inhalant use can also cause death.

Narcotic painkillers:

Opioids are narcotic, painkilling drugs produced naturally from opium or made synthetically. This class of drugs includes heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone and oxycodone (OxyContin). If you’re prescribed these medications by a doctor, take them exactly as directed. Don’t increase your dose without first talking to your doctor.

Signs of narcotic use and dependence can include:

  • Reduced sense of pain
  • Sedation
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Needle marks (if injecting drugs)

When to see a doctor

If you think your drug use is out of control or is causing problems, get help. The sooner you seek help, the greater your chances are for a long-term recovery. Your family doctor may be a good place to start, or you may see a mental health provider such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Make an appointment to see a doctor if:

  • You can’t stop using a drug.
  • Your drug use has led to unsafe behavior, such as sharing needles or unprotected sex.
  • You think you may be having withdrawal symptoms. If you’re reluctant to approach a doctor, help lines or hotlines may be a good place to learn about treatment. You can find these lines listed in the phone book or on the Internet.

Seek emergency help if you or someone you know has taken a drug and:

  • May have overdosed
  • Loses consciousness
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has seizures
  • Has signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain or pressure
  • Has any other troublesome physical or psychological reaction to use of the drug
30 Minute Consultation: $75.00

OR

Call: 1-877-35 ABUSE

*Please note ARLS is the first law firm in Florida whose sole concentration is Marchman Act implementation and litigation. We've handled more than a thousand cases. Our experience, training and education provides you with the best Marchman Act advice available. Other attorneys who offer a Free Consultation should be questioned as to their experience and expertise, as these attorneys have just recently entered this area of law and have only handled a minimal number of cases. Our consultation fee is a small price to pay for those trying to determine whether implementing the Marchman Act is right for them.

VISIT OUR SISTER WEBSITE DEDICATED TO INFORMATION SPECIFICALLY FOR TREATMENT / RECOVERY PROFESSIONALS AND FACILITIES

Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC 888 S. Andrews Avenue Suite 203 Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33316 T: 1 (877) 35-ABUSE F: 1 (954) 522-2584 E: advice@arlshelp.com Copyright 2011 © Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1 (877) 35-ABUSE