Drug abuse of any kind can wreak havoc on an individual and family members. Determining whether to report drug abuse or whether to assist the addicted individual in seeking drug rehabilitation services can be a difficult choice to make. Law enforcement agencies primarily focus on drug sellers or pharmacies operating in illegal prescription drug sales. If you know of a pharmacy or individual selling drugs, report it to your local police or to the DEA.
Educate yourself to the signs and symptoms of drug abuse. If you suspect someone is abusing drugs, watch for common signs, such as bloodshot eyes, unexplained changes in sleep or productivity, abnormal hyperactivity, lack of motivation, and frequent financial difficulties.
Research drug treatment options. If you are concerned about a family member or friend, your best option may be to talk directly with her about available help. Talk with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration or contact a local Narcotics Anonymous group. These groups can talk with you about your concerns and refer you for available treatment.
Contact the DEA's Prescription Drug Abuse Hotline if you suspect a pharmacy or doctor is over-prescribing or selling illegal prescription drugs. You can make your report to the hotline anonymously.
Contact your local police if you suspect an individual is selling drugs. You will need to provide information about what you have seen, the location of the sales and any information you have on whether the individual has weapons. You can request that your report to be anonymous, though you may be asked to serve as a witness if an arrest is made.
Report the individual with the drug-abuse problem to the police. Possessing illegal drugs is a crime. However, the police may or may not arrest the individual. Typically they will need additional evidence, such as finding paraphernalia on an individual, to pursue a case. In most cases, if a loved one is abusing drugs, your best option is to talk with him about the problem and offer as much help as you can give.
Erika Sanders has been writing since 1997. She teaches writing at the Washington State Reformatory and edits the monthly newsletter for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a national nonprofit organization. She received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston.