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Opiod Addiction and Young Adults
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2021
Picture this: Thanksgiving Day - you're in the kitchen, getting the big meal prepped. Your counters are full of food, cans of green beans, boxes of macaroni noodles, potatoes galore, and your child's purse on the counter as well. As your frantically pulling things from the pantry trying to find your last container of broth, you knock over your child's purse onto the floor and all her belongings fall everywhere. As you try to clean them up and place them back into the purse the way they should be, you come across a tiny pill container. Inside that container, your life as you know will change. You find some little blue pills, a straw, a folded-up dollar bill with some powder in it. Instantly, you know what you just found.
This happened to us this weekend. But how? We have always been active in our daughter's life. She's 23, she lives on her own states away, she's raising a kid, she's got a full-time job. She's always had great grades, good friends, a strong head on her shoulder, and she knows the harmful effects drugs can have on the mind, body and soul. After all, her biological mother has been addicted her entire life, her aunts, her child's father... but not her. We never thought this would affect her.
My husband and I spent what seems like hours talking in the garage while everyone was inside enjoying their turkey dinner. What do we do? How long has she been on drugs? We researched what we found on Google - "tiny blue pill with M on it", "M30 pills", "signs of opioid addiction", "fentanyl use"... and the list goes on. We found that the pills in question were fake oxycodone pills, cut with fentanyl. Why? Why? Why? We just had a friend whose daughter passed earlier this year at 18 years old from the same thing. Why was our daughter experimenting with it?
So, we decided the best course of action for our daughter was to dispose of the pills and wait. It didn't take more than an hour of her waking up to start frantically looking for something in her purse. Did this mean that as soon as she woke up, she would normally take drugs to function? Did our daughter NEED this drug to function? Is she an ADDICT now? My husband was unable to bite his tongue and decided he needed to run to the store really quick and grab more cooking oil, toting our daughter along so they could have a talk.
Not much came out of the talk. She denied being a user, and that she was holding them for a friend. So, over the next three days, we decided to watch her behavior. After all, it was the holidays, she's visiting home for several weeks. And with the stash gone, and her car battery dead, she had nothing but time at home. She slept all through Thanksgiving, and the next day, and the day after that. She stated she wasn't feeling well, she must have a bug that's going around. Barely eating, drinking, or waking up to tend to her child that we all pitched in to watch. The signs are there. It's time to wake up and face the facts that our daughter has an opioid problem.
But how did we miss this? All too often young kids across America are becoming addicted to drugs. And apparently, they are so easy to get their hands on them with people selling them over social media. I am telling you, from first-hand experience that no matter how close you watch your young adults, you may never know if they are messing around with drugs. The signs are there: Signs of opioid misuse in adolescents can include: drowsiness, constipation, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, headaches, sweating, mood changes, loss of appetite, and weakness. This can be confused often with signs of any typical illness - so it's hard to see a pattern. The opioids are easy to obtain, and fairly cheap. Young adults are experimenting with them possibly to "help" treat depression, anxiety or because they might be pressured into seeing what all the hype is about. It's really a hard sign to pinpoint where and when they might have started to dabble in drug use.
What does a parent do when they suspect their child or loved one is taking drugs? We are still trying to figure out that ourselves. Surely our daughter feels shamed, and she hasn't admitted she has a problem. In order for rehab to work, they need to want to do the work themselves. From years of experience with addicted family members, sometimes they just don't want help, and there is nothing else you can do. Sure, you can put your foot down, put in "or else" guidelines, and push your loved ones away to the outskirts of the family - but that's not helping them become clean and sober.
I invite you to take this journey with me as we learn how to get a loved one the help they need. And the first step for us, is having her admit she has a problem, assessing it, getting her into a rehabilitation center and therapy to find the root of her desire to use. Our daughter has been up, alert and engaged in family conversations and back at being a full-time mom. But this might not be the case for everyone, in fact, I am starting to wonder if she really was sick based on how quick she bounced back. But I am not letting that doubt fool me, we are not letting this go. We will still talk, monitor and get her the help she needs. Being a parent is hard work, and we are not letting the hard work get in the way of getting our child healthy and clean again.
I came across some resources that I wanted to share with you, just in case you may ever need them. Take some time and talk to your family about drugs, addiction and the effects it can have long term. Believe me, there is always MORE you can do to protect your children. We thought we covered all bases while raising her, but now see where we might have over-looked a few tell-tale signs of drug use.
Talking to your child about drugs
Get Smart About Drugs
Signs of opioid use
Turning Point Center
Drug Abuse Statistics
Recovery is possible