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Reducing prescription misuse and abuse starts with you:

      • Don’t share your medications. Your prescription is for your use only. Sharing medication with friends and loved ones may put them in harms way.
      • Store your medications safely. Keep your medication in a safe place that is protected from people who may try to misuse it.
      • Have unused or expired medication? Easy to use drug disposal/deactivation kits are available. These kits deactivate medicines and can be safely disposed of at home. Connect with your local Public Health Nursing Center to learn more and receive a kit free of charge.

What can I do?

    First, take care of yourself. The healthier you are, the more you can handle stress and support the people you love.

      • Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise daily. Doing these things will stabilize your energy levels and produce natural stress-relieving hormones.
      • Limit or avoid alcohol and drugs. They don’t relieve stress and often add to it.
      • Get time for yourself. Doing things like deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation can reduce stress and give you the space you need to think clearly.
      • Get the support you need. Remember, it’s not your fault and you’re not alone.

Know the signs of an heroin/opioid overdose

    Seek emergency medical attention if any of these signs appear:

      • Failure to respond when spoken to
      • Failure to wake up when prompted
      • Slow or no breathing
      • Tiny pupils (the center part of the eye)
      • Fingernails or lips are turning blue or purple

What are the signs of addiction?

    The signs of heroin and opioid addiction are similar. Knowing and noticing them can help you make decisions when drug abuse impacts you and your family. Familiarizing yourself with these signs can also help you support friends or loved ones who have been prescribed opioids and may need help tapering off or stopping use.

    If you notice these signs, talk about it. Avoiding the topic will allow the addictions and destructive behaviors to continue. People addicted to these drugs may not seek change right away, but addressing their addiction will help you to seek support, set boundaries
    and clear a path for change.

    Behavioral changes

      • Change in relationships with family members or friends, avoiding eye contact
      • Mood changes or emotional instability, loud, obnoxious behavior, laughing at nothing
      • Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
      • Sullen, withdrawn, depressed, silent, uncommunicative, hostile, angry, uncooperative
      • Deceitful or secretive; makes endless excuses; secretive phone calls, texting, instant messages or emails
      • Unusually tired, decreased motivation, lethargy
      • Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech or rapid-fire speech
      • Inability to focus, hyperactive, unusually elated
      • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy followed by long periods of “catch up” sleep
      • Disappearance of prescription or over–the-counter pills, money or valuables
      • Frequently breaks curfew or is not where they said they would be, going out every night
      • Cash flow problems
      • Reckless driving, car accidents, or unexplained damage to car

    Appearance changes

      • Poor hygiene, messy, careless appearance, inappropriate clothing (i.e., wears long sleeves in warm weather to hide needle marks)
      • Burns or soot on fingers or lips; unexplained bruises or abscesses, needle marks on arms or legs

    Health status changes

      • Frequent sickness
      • Frequent nosebleeds or runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
      • Sores, spots around mouth, drastic changes in dental health
      • Queasy, nausea, vomiting, frequent diarrhea
      • Seizures with no history of epilepsy
      • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
      • Skin abrasions/bruises, accidents or injuries with no good explanation
      • Depression
      • Headaches, noticeably enlarged pupils in withdrawal, pinprick pupils during use
      • Excessive sweatiness

    School or work concerns:


    Find support

    Set boundaries

      Decide how much physical, emotional and financial support you can provide to your loved one, and tell them in clear terms what you are and are not willing to do or put up with.

      Learn how to set healthy boundaries and practice doing it.

      Protect valuables from theft and secure your computer access codes.

      Encourage others not to provide money or a place to stay for an active addict.

    Offer an opportunity to change

      Let them know that you will help them get treatment and support them in sobriety. Start by finding treatment options in your area. You can also learn about residential treatment programs at this Regional Map of Residential SUD Facilities. A wide variety of treatment options can be found here: