By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist
It’s obvious that people of any age, sex, faith, origin, or economic status can become addicted to a drug. It can be a drug that is prescribed to them by their family physician or something they picked up from a friend. We’ve all got “connections” that can hook us up from Aspirin for headaches to Zinc for supplements, Diet Pills that will help burn off calories to Caffeine Pills that will help you burn both ends of the candle, it’s all out there somewhere waiting for someone who wants or “needs” that fix.
At first, the person may not notice that he or she is getting hooked. Honestly, not every type of pill is addicting and half the time it’s more mental than physical addiction. With that being said, it may be something physically addictive like Caffeine. Each day, soft drink companies manufacture products having Caffeine as an ingredient that people consume often. Did you have a cup of coffee this morning? Was it regular or decaf? Do you have it every morning when you wake up?
In the beginning, it was intentionally meant to be a one-time thing, but then once turns into twice, and before you know, it’s three to four to five times. Before too long, it’s almost a daily routine without even thinking about it, but when you don’t get it; symptoms start to show real quick. It’s the same for drugs of abuse. It makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do before getting hooked. Although I must admit, I haven’t seen anyone get “too” violent over a cup of coffee or a morning cigarette.
There is a wide variety of illicit drug substances being used that could cause a person to go through withdrawals. They range from plant products (marijuana & tobacco), synthetic chemicals (K2 / Spice), to prescription drugs (Vicodin & OxyContin). Factors also come into play allowing some people to be more prone toward alcoholism than drug addictions. Any substance can be ingested into the body in at least one of the following ways:
- Oral ingestion (swallowing)
- Inhalation (breathing into the lung)
- Injection into the veins (a.k.a. shooting up)
- Snorting up into the nasal area
When an abuser is caught and asked why they do it, the most common reply is “to get high.” A lot of the time it’s after a workplace accident or similar situation before their addiction problem has been found out. However, you might be lucky enough to spot an abuser if you know what signs to look for. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult, but other times it’s quite obvious, like your hand in front of you face. If you can keep an eye on the person, you may notice they have one or more indicators such as:
- Problems at school or work (frequently missing school or work, disinterest in activities, and drop in grades or performance.)
- Physical health issues (lack of energy and motivation)
- Neglected appearance (no interest in clothing, grooming, or looks)
- Drastic behavior changes with family and friends
- Spending money without anything to show or explanation (may also notice things missing or have disappeared in theory to have been sold to support the drug habit).
- Mood swings or obnoxious radical behavior
- Sleepiness and confusion
**For more info about what to look for in a drug user, you can visit the Mayo Clinic website.
People with drug dependencies have been known to develop a tolerance to the drug and it takes more over time to reach the “high”. With that problem, the costs to get it add up more. That’s one of the reasons why some move to other substances like over-the-counter drugs. Everyday cold medications are consumed in excess by adolescents and young adults to get high. Other resourceful household drugs and chemicals commonly abused include gasoline or other hydrocarbons as inhalants.
Honestly, drugs affect people in different ways. Whatever drug one person takes may very well affect someone else a lot differently. This also can be said when it comes to withdrawals. Symptoms can be a variety of actions / events depending on the drugs and the length of abuse by the user. Some of the emotional withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety issues
- Restlessness Feelings
- Easily to Irritate
- Lack of sleep / insomnia
- Headaches (pain varies)
- Inability to concentrate or stay focused
- Constant feelings of depression and sadness
- Isolation of oneself from friends and family
Other symptoms that can occur include some physical (borderline severe) actions that include:
- Sweat pouring down constantly
- Heart rate speed up
- Heart Palpitations (beating too hard, skipping a beat, or fluttering)
- Muscle tension
- Chest tightening
- Breathing difficulties
- Tremors (depending on severity of withdrawals)
- Nausea feelings
Those are just the withdrawal symptoms from the more common drugs of abuse. When it comes to Alcohol or Tranquilizers (central nervous system depressant drugs classified as sedative-hypnotics), quitting cold turkey can be just as devastating as getting hooked on them. Some of the more dangerous symptoms of alcohol and tranquilizers withdrawal include:
- Grand mal seizures (loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions)
- Heart Attacks
- Delirium Tremens (severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or nervous system changes)
Don’t confuse withdrawals with detoxification (or detox as some call it) because those are two different things. Detox is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of the toxins left behind from the drug(s) used while going through the withdrawals process. It’s usually the first step in treatment alongside of therapy. It, too, can be quite a ride from what I understand. I’ve also been told that recovery can be rewarding because you get a second chance or the first chance to change your life.
Research has shown that men are more likely to have problems with drugs than women, but the progression of addictive disorders is faster in women than men. For users, drugs can become a way of coping with painful psychological feelings and can cost a person a lot in the end. In addition to losing a good reputation, there’s health care to pay for, possible legal fees and fines, potential restitution for damages, and let’s not forget to mention the price society pays for the effects of drug addiction. Those costs include:
- Theft by abusers to support their drug habits
- Pay for local law enforcement agencies as well as Federal officers
- The potential contributions the drug abuser would have made to his or her community if they would have remained sober and productive
All in all, it’s a terrible thing to waste such potential abilities and talents on. Drugs can take away your life’s work and dreams without notice. Yes, those around you may be picking up the signs that you are abusing, but it’s up to you to listen to them should you be getting hooked. What your friends and family can’t do, your physician can do, like suggest getting treatment in rehab. That might be the hardest thing for you, but it would be the best if nothing else works.
Otherwise, you may run the risk of being another statistic that isn’t desirable. You could end up getting a communicable disease such as HIV by either having unsafe sex or by sharing needles. Other health problems may range short to long-term mental and physical health problems, depending on which drug was consumed. You are more accident prone when you are under the influence. Worst case scenario, you could end up dead. Even if you don’t overdose, it’s been documented those addicted commit suicide more often that who aren’t addicted.
Right now, substance abuse costs our nation just over $600 Billion annually, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As an example, the average cost for 1 year of methadone treatment is approximately $4,700 per patient, otherwise for 1 year of imprisonment costs around $24,000 per person. It would be cheaper to treat the person than to have them in jail. On average, we spend two cents of every dollar to prevention and treatment, with the rest paying for hospital care, jails and courts, according to the Columbia University Addiction Center.
This isn’t a problem just here in the United States, it’s a global epidemic. China recently estimated they have 14,000,000 drug users. The problem is getting so bad that China suffered an economic loss of 500 Billion Yaun (about $78.6 Billion as of this writing) and about 49,000 deaths due to drug abuse last year, 2014, alone. By the year’s end, it was also estimated that 1.2 million used methamphetamine, up almost 41 percent from 2013.
Both of the revelations mentioned above go to show how important it is to random drug test. Not only could it offer life-saving changes to the individuals, but the people around the users would have fewer conflicts and there could be less drug-related accidents (on & off the job) that may result into overdoses and deaths. Employers who initiated a successful drug-free workplace reported:
- improvements in morale
- productivity improvement around the workplace
- decreases in absenteeism
- fewer accidents
- less downtime
- a decline in personnel turnover
- a reduction theft in most cases
If you want to initiate a drug testing program in your business or organization, Rapid Detect recommends first deciding how you want to perform those tests. In other words, we offer several different methods to check for drugs of abuse with your convenience in mind. There are some organizations with drug-free workplace programs that could qualify for incentives, like decreased costs for workers’ compensation and other kinds of insurance. We also offer some that you can use in the privacy of your own home. These methods include:
- Urine (various kits including checking for steroids)
- Hair (including a kit that will check for prescriptions)
- Saliva (kits that can check for alcohol and nicotine available)
Drug testing is an important process to maintaining a steady workplace or a clean environment at home. It’s important to know that addiction doesn’t play a role in the ability to perform normally. It can be a big distraction when you need to be focus, even if you aren’t the one using drugs. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us by calling (888) 404-0020 weekdays from 8am to 4pm or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.