If your loved one was abusing prescription drugs, would you recognize it? This question arose a few weeks ago on the cusp of the arrest of 24-year-old Albert Gore, son of former vice-president Al Gore. Gore was criticized for his lack of attention to his son’s addictive state while rallying around America screaming the ills of global warming. Critics questioned how a father could be so outwardly concerned about the planet and not as overtly worried about his own drug-addicted son. However, I believe the critics are giving the former vice-president a bum rap.
Unfortunately, no step by step manual exists to help parents keep their child off of drugs. In Gore’s case, the recent incident was actually a second arrest for their son Albert. Albert was first pulled over three years ago while driving on similar charges. At that time, he was attending Harvard and sent to a rehab center for help. Like many parents, Al and Tipper Gore probably believed rehab was the final answer. After all, he was only using marijuana and a few prescription drugs. Then later, their son went on to become the associate publisher of GOOD, a magazine about philanthropy and aimed at young adults. So he was being productive in his life. Yet, as the American public is well aware of now, prescription drug abuse is as hard to kick as getting off any illegal substance on the street.
Once a person gets addicted to drugs it’s hard to stop and stay clean. So it’s important for the people around them to know the warning signs that their loved one is relapsing. Here are a few:
1) Your household prescription pills are coming up short. You had a prescription for Xanax that included 30 pills, but only two days after refilling it, it’s down to 24. Don’t accuse yourself of taking one too many for a few days, someone else is helping themselves to your prescribed medicine.
2) Your loved one wants to take painkillers for everything besides physical pain. If your child or partner is not in pain, do not allow them to use painkillers. Some folks proclaim Vicodin as a sleep-aid, so they take one at night. However, Vicodin is highly addictive. As a result, the user will want to have it on a regular basis just to function if taken over a used over a prolonged period of time. So if you see someone in your household moving towards this direction, its time for an early intervention.
3) Your loved one is doctor shopping. If your loved one either changes doctors in order to get a certain prescription or goes to a second, third or fourth one because their regular physician won’t write it fast enough, they are in trouble. Heed the warning sign and get them help.
4) If the prescribed medicine is procured off the street or is a friend’s. If your loved one is getting a certain type of medication by any means necessary, this is a warning sign. So check to see if the name on the medicine they are taking matches theirs and also if it’s even comes directly from a doctor. If it doesn’t, your loved one is spiraling out of control.
Now that you know the warning signs that your loved one may be addicted to drugs, take the appropriate action. It is easier to deal with any problem when it first begins versus waiting until it becomes larger than life. You can start by just talking to the person and voicing your concerns. Then, you can enlist the help of a social agency designed to deal with people addicted to drugs. Whatever you do, don’t give up.