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Research shows that combining addiction treatment and medications with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most recovering patients. — Photo from Outbounders.com

September was National Recovery Month. However, recovery needs to be every year, month, day, hour, minute and second.

As with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People in recovery are at risk of a relapse possibly for their whole lives.

Research shows that combining addiction treatment and medications with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most recovering patients. Treatments are tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns, with any related medical, mental or social problems being addressed.

(About 64,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in 2016, a 21 percent increase from the 52,898 deaths reported in the previous year, according to a governmental account of nationwide drug deaths released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

If you think a family member, friend or someone they know is falling under the vices of legal or illegal substance, here are a few telltale things to check in various categories. The below information was supplied from a brochure from state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-190).

Marijuana, Grass, Pot, Weed, Reefer, Sensemilla, Hash, Mary Jane, Ganja, Kill, Dosia

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Sleepiness, wandering mind, enlarged pupils, lack of coordination, craving for sweets, giggling, short term memory loss.

LOOK FOR: Cigarette or rolling paper, plastic bags containing dried parsley like material with small round seeds, strong odor of leaves, roach clips, pipe.

DANGERS: Inducement to try stronger drugs, distorted perception, chromosome damage.

Amphetamines, Speed, Pep, Crank, Tweak, Rush, Crystal Meth, Pills, Methamphetamine, Ice

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Aggressive behavior, no appetite, rapid speech, confused thinking, dry mouth, shakiness.

LOOK FOR: Pills and capsules of varying color, chain smoking, needles and hypodermic syringes, cotton, burnt bottles caps and spoons, cigarette lighters, matches, needle marks on inside of arms and feet, crystalline substances that look like rock candy.

DANGERS: Death form overdose, hallucinations, mental deterioration, drug dependence, possible exposure to AIDs virus.

LSD, PCP, Acid, Purple Haze, Hog, Microdot, Mescaline, Mexican Button, Cactus

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Severe hallucinations, feelings of detachment, incoherent speech, cold hands and feet, uncontrollable crying and laughing, vomiting.

LOOK FOR: Small pills and capsules of varying colors, quarter inch squares of blotting paper (often decorated with designs), strong body odor.

DANGERS: Suicidal tendencies, unpredictable behavior, brain and chromosome damage, hallucinations, violence.

Inhalants and Volatile Solvents, Glue, Spot Remover, Gasoline, Paint Thinner, Nitrous Oxide, Whippets

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Violence, drunk like appearance, hallucinations, blank or dreamy expressions.

LOOK FOR: Tubes of glue, strong smell of sniffed substance on clothes and breath, paper and plastic bags with dried substance on them.

DANGERS: Damage to lungs, brain and liver, death from suffocation or choking.

Heroin, Morphine, Smack, Horse, Hard Stuff

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Stupor, drowsiness, running nose, drunk like appearance.

LOOK FOR: Needles and hypodermic syringes, cotton, burnt bottles caps and spoons, cigarette lighters, matches, small plastic bags, needle marks on inside of arms and feet, white power or crystalline substances that look like rock candy.

DANGERS: Death from overdose or contaminated drugs, mental deterioration, destruction of brain and liver, physical addiction, possible exposure to AIDS virus.

Cocaine, Crack, Flake, Snow, Blow

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Short lived pleasure followed by depression and intense craving for more cocaine, loss of appetite.

LOOK FOR: Needles and hypodermic syringes, cotton, burnt bottles caps and spoons, cigarette lighters, matches, small plastic bags, needle marks on inside of arms and feet, white power or crystalline substances that look like rock candy.

DANGERS: Death from overdose or contaminated drugs, mental deterioration, destruction of brain and liver, physical addiction, possible exposure to AIDS virus.

Alcohol, Beer, Wine, Hard Liquor, White Lighting

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Slurred speech, impaired coordination, memory lapses, impaired judgment, severe mood swings.

LOOK FOR: Empty cans and bottles.

DANGERS: Physical addiction, volatile burst of temper, hazard to those around them, long term heavy use can result in liver damage and death.

Barbiturates, Tranquilizers, Depressants, Downers, Goof Balls, Uppers

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Drowsiness, stupor, dullness, slurred speech, vomiting, drunk like appearance.

LOOK FOR: Pills and capsules of various colors, pills often are brand name drugs obtained illegally such as Valium, Quaalude, Halcion and Seconal, some may involve injection rather than oral use.

DANGERS: Death from overdose, unconsciousness, physical addiction.

Designer Drugs

These drugs are chemically different from the other drugs listed, but have the same effects. Until recently they were not prohibited, but new laws have now designated them illegal drugs.

One designer drug, called Ecstasy, has similar effects to LSD.

There are a number of signals that may indicate your child is using drugs or abusing alcohol. Below is a list of potential signs and symptoms to watch out for. Keep track of how many signs or symptoms apply to your child and calculate your score, which indicates the likelihood that your child is using drugs.

The result of this test is not designed to be used for diagnosis or as a psychological evaluation.

Money missing from your purse of wallet

Use of incense, room deodorizer or excessive perfumes and cologne

Excessive use of mints, mouth washes and gum

Eye drops to reduce redness

Missing medications (over the counter as well as prescription)

Decline in academic performance or work performance

Personality changes

Withdrawal and decreased interaction with good friends

New friends and people whom the teen is unwilling to introduce to you

Over the counter materials such as computer duster, nail polish or nail polish remover, white out, hairsprays or other inhalants found with their belongings

Excessive sleeping

Weight loss or decline in eating

Increased appetite

Drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bags of seeds, rolling papers, empty bottles, baggies, etc.

Your child’s bedroom is strictly off limits

A score of six and above may indicate that your child is using drugs or abusing alcohol,, with a score of 6 to 9 indicating most likely and 10 to 15 indicating a strong likelihood.

Decisions made by your child during his or her adolescent years can have an life-long effect. Without proper guidance, your child could already be on a slippery slope to which there is no escaping. The faster your child receives treatment, the less likely there will be negative outcomes.

Drug use and addiction are preventable. NIDA-funded research has shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities and the media are effective at preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.

Personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, especially when young people view drug use as harmful. Education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use, with teachers, parents and health care providers playing a crucial role in educating young people to prevent drug use and addiction.

If you have a fitness question or concern, write to Tips to be Fit, PO Box 53443, Philadelphia, Pa., 19105, or send an email to tipstobefit@gmail.com. Past articles can be found at www.phillytrib.com and search “Tips to be Fit.”

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