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Do I Have a Drug User in the Family?

Early changes in a personís character and behavioural pattern when first experimenting with drugs of addiction can be difficult to identify.

Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and also marijuana initially produce a feeling of euphoria or a sense of well being, which when noticed in a child, may at first give you a sense of relief with the knowledge that he or she is coping with the problem of growing up and appears adjusted in the process.

The danger signs will appear when there is an obvious change in mood and behaviour. Again this can be just normal reaction to school or work problems, romance or various disappointments. However, gradually you will become aware of a deeper change and it its then that the following signs can become important.

School or work performance starts to deteriorate. Hyperexcitability interspersed with periods of sleepiness and depression can occur. The child appears to be run down and deteriorating in general health, is spending large amounts of money and appears to be missing school or work frequently. There can be extended periods spent away from home, a loss of interest in life and withdrawal from previous, well established friendships.

Small pupils in the eyes can be a feature of drug addiction. Needle marks with signs of skin infection may be present. If your child is attempting to withdraw from drug usage or is missing out on a regular dosage then symptoms of withdrawal can appear. These include nausea and vomiting, sweating associated with bouts of restlessness, goose flesh, yawning, nasal snuffling, abdominal colic and diarrhoea and generalised muscle pains.

Cocaine withdrawal can be associated with sleepiness and severe depression which can even be associated with thoughts of suicide.

Your doctor should be consulted in the early stages of a suspected drug addiction and particularly if severe signs and symptoms of drug addiction or withdrawal appear. Advice can also be obtained from the alcohol and drug information service listed in the front of the pages of the Yellow Pages telephone directory. There is a crisis call line and a Salvation Army Salvocare also listed.

An organisation similar to Alcoholics Anonymous called Narcotics Anonymous with the telephone number in the general pages of the telephone directory is also available for those seeking help.

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