Prescription drugs can be extremely helpful when used correctly, but when misused, these drugs can also be extremely risky. Below are some warning signs that you or someone you know may be struggling with prescription drug abuse or addiction.
Behavioral Signs of Misuse and Abuse
Note: These warning signs should be relayed to shipmates, caregivers and family members as something to watch for if prescription drug misuse or abuse is suspected.
- Excessive mood swings or hostility
- Appearing to be unusually energetic or sedated
- Significant increase or decrease in sleep
- Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor (e.g., seeing a civilian doctor in addition to a Navy Medicine facility)
- Asking friends and family members for some of their medication
- Claiming that their prescription was lost or stolen
If you think you or someone you know may be misusing or abusing prescription drugs, there are resources available that you can and should turn to:
1. Navy doctors
2. Navy chaplains
3. Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) advisors
4. Alcohol and Drug Control Officers (ADCOs) and Drug and Alcohol Program Advisors (DAPAs)
You Can Make a Difference
If you know your shipmate, friend or family member is misusing prescription drugs, don’t be a passive bystander. You can make a difference by encouraging them to stop misusing prescription drugs. Here are some pointers:
- Approach them as a friend, and remind them that you’re there to help them.
- Remind them about how hard they’ve worked in the Navy and how quickly they could lose it all by misusing a prescription drug.
- Share some of the facts and statistics about prescription drug abuse found in the campaign materials, such as those about the high risk of addiction and overdose death when abusing painkillers.
- Encourage the Sailor to take advantage of all of the resources available to them, including their doctor, chaplain, chain of command and substance abuse prevention personnel.
- Take it one day at a time. Behavior change doesn’t happen overnight, but you can be there for them every step of the way.
In the case of an emergency, call 911 or the resources below:
Military OneSource Confidential Counseling
Military Crisis Line