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Warning Signs of Pain Pill Abuse

If you are worried that a loved one may be abusing prescription opioids, check this list for some common warning signs:

  1. Changes in physical appearance. Changes can include looking pale or sickly, gaining or losing weight, skin issues, appearing tired and/or disheveled.
  2. Issues with prescriptions. Warning signs include visiting multiple doctors, finishing a Rx early, losing a Rx, making overly specific requests to doctors, or taking other people’s medications.
  3. Lying or denying. Many people who are abusing substances will lie or deny he/she has an issue when asked about his/her use. If you confront a loved one and he/she denies having a problem, the best thing that you can do is go with your gut. Educate yourself and seek help.
  4. Stealing. Having a drug habit is expensive. Many loved ones of addicts may notice missing checks, unexplained credit card charges, missing cash or missing valuables.
  5. Interference in work or school. Many people who abuse opiates and become addicted will begin to withdraw from school, work and other daily activities. Sudden drop in grades or being fired might be a sign that something is wrong. As the disease of addiction progresses, many people will not be able to maintain their daily responsibilities.
  6. Relationship problems. As addiction progresses, relationships start to fall apart. Often drugs become the main focus and priority of an addict’s life.
  7. Mood swings. Substance abuse may lead someone to become disengaged, moody, or depressed.
  8. Sleepiness. Opioid abusers may have trouble staying awake, or may fall asleep at inappropriate times.
  9. Needle marks on arms and legs from intravenous (injected) use.
  10. Other physical signs include constricted pupils, vomiting, and flushed itchy skin.

If you suspect a loved one may have a substance use disorder, there is help available. If you live in Western New York, please call Horizon at (716) 831-1800. We can provide help, hope and support.