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Published: October, 2008; Vol 5, Num 5

 

Addiction is dependence on a substance – or a type of behavior – to such an extent that it seems impossible to break away. This is the second of a three-part series on addiction. The overview ran last month; next month will focus on behavioral addictions such as gambling, the Internet, eating or sexual activity. Substance addictions – drugs and alcohol – are better known and a more common cause of suffering among LIUNA members and their families.

Know the Signs of Substance Abuse

Drug Addiction

  • Paying bills late, collection agencies calling, inability to keep track of your money
  • Arrests, doing things that you would normally not do such as stealing to obtain drugs
  • Continuing to use drugs even though you realize your job or education is in jeopardy
  • Missing work or school or going in late due to drug use 
  • Feeling annoyed when other people comment on or criticize your use of drugs
  • Feeling remorse or guilt after using drugs
  • Associating with questionable people or frequenting out-of-the-ordinary locations to purchase or use drugs
  • Scheduling your day around using drugs
  • Focusing recreational activities around obtaining drugs, using drugs or recovering from drug use
  • Using drugs when alone

Prescription Drug Addiction

  • Changes in mood – from a sense of well-being to belligerence
  • Lying or keeping secrets
  • Hiding pills and obsessively counting them
  • “Doctor shopping” or filling multiple prescriptions at different pharmacies
  • stealing prescription pads
  • Buying drugs off the street
  • False feelings of self-confidence
  • Increased sensitivity to sights and sounds, including hallucinations
  • Altered activity such as sleeping for 12-14 hours or frenzied activity lasting for hours
  • Unpleasant or painful symptoms when the substance is withdrawn
  • Building up tolerance to the drug

Alcohol Addiction

  • Failure to fulfill major work, school or home responsibilities
  • Recurring alcohol-related legal problems such as drunk driving arrests or fighting
  • Continued drinking despite ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by the effects of alcohol
  • Remorse about excessive drinking
  • Annoyance at those who criticize your drinking
  • Needing a drink first thing in the morning to quiet your nerves or overcome a hangover

Drug-Free Work Week

Designed to provide an occasion for reflection on the importance of drug-free work, Drug-Free Work Week, October 20-26, is a good opportunity to stimulate discussion among LIUNA members at a local union meeting or jobsite toolbox talk.

The Working Partners website of the U.S. Department of Labor features a variety of suggestions for how to use the Week to raise awareness. Talking points for presentations leading up to and during the week are available as is a template should your organization wish to issue a media release.

The LHSFNA website also has many resources on substance abuse. Use the search function to generate a list.

Assistance resources:

First, recognize that you are not alone and that others are available to lend support. If your LIUNA health plan has a Member Assistance Program, contact the MAP for guidance.  Pictured on this page are two new substance abuse posters developed by the LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Division.  They can be ordered through the online catalogue. Other resources include:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Hopeline

1-800-622-2255

Narcotics Anonymous

818-773-9999

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration