You don’t use drugs, and you don’t condone recreational drug use, so how could you possibly be the one contributing to your loved one’s drug abuse or addiction? Unfortunately, simply having addictive painkillers in your medicine cabinet is all you need to do to inadvertently support someone’s ongoing drug dependence. But if you believe that it’s not happening in your house, you’re not alone – a new survey found that while parents in New Jersey recognize that painkiller use and abuse of heroin are connected, few believe that their homes are access points for opiate pills.

It’s not an uncommon view, and if you share it, you’re not alone. The truth is, however, that an old bottle of pills prescribed for pain after a surgery, or an ongoing prescription for drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and others, may be used by those who don’t have a prescription of their own or who need more in order to stave off withdrawal symptoms due to addiction.

Prescription Drug Take-Back Days

One way to address the problem is to rid your house of all unwanted medications. If the pills are expired or if you no longer have a use for them, then you can look for notice of the next “Prescription Drug Take-Back” day or find a local drop-off point that will allow you to bring in the medications at any time, no questions asked.

Take Stock

If you have an ongoing prescription for addictive medications, then take an inventory of what you have regularly and keep track of what you should have. Additionally, keeping pills locked up or out of the usual spots (e.g., medicine cabinets or bedside tables) can help to keep them out of anyone’s hands but yours or the person to whom they are prescribed.

Identifying Opiate Drug Abuse

If you notice that pills are disappearing on a regular basis, it can be an indication that opiate dependence has become an issue for someone you care about. You may also notice that they:

  • Routinely “nod out” or find it difficult to stay awake
  • Exhibit cold and flu symptoms, like sniffling
  • Frequently complain of being tired or feeling sick
  • Lack personal hygiene
  • Lack interest in old hobbies, work, or close relationships
  • Lie about drug use even in the face of obvious evidence that he is actively under the influence or has abused drugs
  • Steal money or have financial problems
  • Often head to the emergency room to seek painkillers for various pain and injuries
  • Seek treatment for pain from more than one doctor
  • Abuse prescriptions (e.g., by crushing pills before taking them or taking them with other drugs, including alcohol)
  • Take any prescription pills without a prescription

Getting Help

If you believe that your loved one is struggling with opiate addiction, you can get them into detox here at Palm Beach Detox Center. Learn more about our intensive, progressive treatment for opiate dependence today. Healing can begin right now.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.