Roughly 2.1 million Americans battled an opioid addiction in 2017 and an average of 115 Americans die every day of an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Perhaps the best way to prevent someone you love from becoming a statistic is to recognize the signs of an opioid use disorder. This doesn’t mean that you’re expected to make a diagnosis, but family members can do their part to notice when something is not right and help a person fighting addiction get treatment — and get better.
Here are several signs to watch for:
- Behavioral changes: For example, if you’re outgoing loved one is suddenly spending a lot of time alone in their room or staying out of the house for long stretches to avoid interaction with loved ones.
- Inability to keep commitments: You notice your loved one is skipping work or school and/or is barely getting by and missing deadlines and failing in academics.
- Drug paraphernalia: Tin foil, matches, charred spoons, bottle caps – these tools are all used for cooking drugs.
- Needing an early refill: If your loved one complains that he or she “ran out of pain pills” and the prescription is meant to last another two weeks, that’s a big red flag.
- Intense sleepiness: Having a hard time waking up or coming home sedated or sleepy can mean your loved one is at risk of an overdose. Along these lines, if your loved one is taking opioids, you should talk to his or her doctor about keeping the overdose reversal drug naloxone in your house.
- Withdrawal signs: There are some telltale signs of opioid withdrawal, including watery eyes, running nose, frequent yawning, belly pain, diarrhea and body aches (similar to the flu).
If you notice these signs in your loved one, it’s important to talk about them without assigning blame. If he or she is unwilling to seek help, you could talk to a healthcare provider or addiction counselor about how to best approach the situation.
Getting Help for Your Loved One
If you or a loved one suffers from painkiller addiction or another prescription drug addiction, NorthStar Transitions can help! For more information, call us today: 303-974-7953.