When Someone You Know...
...Abuses Drugs (including Alcohol)
What is Substance Abuse?
- Substance Abuse: When use of a substance interferes with functioning in everyday life.
- Dependence: Drug use that leads to a need for the substance on a regular basis.
- Physical Dependence: Substance use with symptoms of withdrawal when not "using."
- Addiction: Compulsive drug use where user may feel out of control in cycle of getting alcohol/drugs and using or relapsing.
Signs of Substance Abuse
- Negative changes in work or school attendance, quality and quantity of work output, grades, self-discipline.
- Unusual outbreaks of temper.
- Withdrawal from responsibility.
- Negative changes in overall attitude.
- Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
- Association with known substance abusers.
- Unusual borrowing of money from friends, co-workers or parents.
- Stealing small items from employer, home or school.
Facts about Alcohol
- Alcohol IS a drug.
- One drink=12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (80 proof)
- A "binge" drinker consumes five or more drinks in a row on a single occasion. A "heavy drinker" has five or more drinks at one time at least five days a month.
- With each 1 oz. drink, Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, goes up by .02% (.08% is legal limit). Alcohol poisoning and death can result from binge drinking in a short period of time.
- Nearly 14 million American adults meet the criteria for alcohol use disorders.
- Alcohol is frequently a factor in the three leading causes of death for 15-24 year olds (motor vehicle crashes, homicides, and suicides).
- Heavy drinking raises the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers, accidents, violence, suicides, babies with birth defects, and overall mortality.
- A clear negative relationship exists between alcohol use and grade-point average among college students: Students with D or F averages have a history of drinking three times as much as students who earn A's.
Facts about Other Drug Use
- The highest rates of illicit drug use (between 20% and 21%) are found among people aged 18-20. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug.
- Today's drugs are much more potent (and therefore addictive) than the drugs of previous generations-- some are 70% more potent.
- Penalties for possession, delivery, and manufacturing of drugs like Ecstasy, Heroin, LSD and Cocaine can include fines as high as $100,000 and up to 99 years or life in prison.
- There are more hospitalizations per year resulting from crack and other cocaine use than any other illicit substance.
- Employees who test positive for drug use file more than twice as many workers' compensation claims, use almost twice the medical benefits, and take 1/3 more leave time than non-users do.
- One-quarter to one-half of all incidents of domestic violence are drug-related.
Drug use and abuse provide the users with a temporary illusion that they can escape from or cope with life's realities. People with alcohol and other drug problems often feel that they hurt only themselves, but they are also tremendously hurting their family, friends, coworkers, employers and others.
Substance abuse and addiction is treatable. Treatment is typically most successful when the abuser him/herself realizes there is a problem and really wants help.
Myths and Facts
Myth: The substance abuse problems of others don't affect me.
Fact: Every man, woman, and child in America pays nearly $1,000 annually to cover the expense of unnecessary health care, extra law enforcement, auto accidents, crime, and lost productivity resulting from substance abuse.
Myth: Women and men of generally the same weight should be able to drink the same amount
of alcohol before getting drunk.
Fact: Alcohol is absorbed more rapidly by women, regardless of weight, due to a stomach enzyme that is more active in men and that makes it easier for men to metabolize (process and eliminate) the alcohol.
Myth: "Natural" drugs like Marijuana aren't addictive.
Fact: Regular use of any drug can build up tolerance and lead to a need for more of the drug to get high. Users can become mentally and/or physically dependent and addicted.
Myth: Ecstasy (MDMA) acts as an aphrodisiac.
Fact: "Club drugs" like ecstasy can actually reduce sexual performance and can permanently damage the part of the brain that controls mood and emotions, contributing to depression and impotence.
What Can Help
The first steps in recovery are recognizing that there is a problem and admitting that help is necessary. Treatment might involve detoxification, medical and/or nutritional screening, and behavior modification.
- Call the Alcohol/Drug 24 hour Help-line at 800.562.1240 for support, information, and referral.
- Consider a self-directed 12-Step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. If you are involved with an abuser, consider Al-Anon or Co-dependents Anonymous for you. Other support includes Smart Recovery and Save Ourselves.
- Make an appointment with community mental health providers, such as Compass Health.
- Make an appointment at the Edmonds CC Counseling and Resource Center with a professional counselor, who can listen, offer feedback, and provide referrals to treatment resources.
- Alcohol/Drug 24-hour Help-line (WA): 800.562.1240
- Alcoholics Anonymous: 425.252.2525
- Narcotics Anonymous: 425.210.2424
- American Council for Drug Education
- Alcohol and Your College Experience
Sobriety and Recovery Support:
|Care Crisis Line|
|Snohomish County Care Crisis Line:||425.258.HELP (4357) or 1.800.584.3578|
|(24-hour telephone crisis counseling; interpreters available)|
|King County Crisis Line:||206.461.3222 or 1.800.244.5767|