Tips for 2010 – Things I’ve Learned But Would Rather Not Know
Things I’ve Learned But Would Rather Not Know:
•you need a land-line phone to receive collect calls from the jail.
• how to check the jail inmate population online.
• hydrocodone and oxycontin prescription pills are opiates and are often precursors to cocaine, crack, and heroin use. They can be used as a temporary ‘fix’ for coke/heroin addicts.
•Hardcore drug addicts will often enter detox and a 28 day drug treatment program just to heal up their injection site abscesses and lower their drug tolerance levels, resulting in their ability to better afford their drug habit when they get out.
•In order to conceal the phone number you’re calling from, dial *67 first. This blocks the number you’re calling from. Most drug addicts know this trick. If and when I feel compelled to call one of the phone #s at my daughter’s crack house, I will dial *67 first to protect my anonymity.
•Medical detox facilities and treatment centers will not accept patients who have any ‘open’ wounds due to the risk of MRSA. MRSA infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called “staph.” MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It’s a strain of staph that’s resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it and can be fatal.
•before drug addicts can enter a treatment/rehab center, they must first be tested for tuberculosis. The administration and reading of this TB test (a skin test) pose significant barriers to getting the addict in to treatment. The drug addict not only has to be willing and able to get themselves to a health facility for the TB test, but also needs to be able to return to that same clinic for the TB test to be read/interpreted, within a narrow window of time. Twice, my daughter was unable to get herself back to the clinic to get her TB test read, within the prescribed window of ‘opportunity’. Both times, the bed reserved and waiting for her at the treatment facility, was ‘let go’, because the TB test had not been successfully completed. Injecting drug use is a major route of TB transmission in most of the world.
The intradermal Mantoux TB test technique is a skin test that must be administered and read after 48 hours. The addict must then be admitted to the treatment facility within the next 24 hours. This 24 hour window for admission can be a problem, as well as getting the TB test read on time (after 48 hours). The timing is tricky – a bed may not be available at the treatment facility during the 24 hour TB window for admission. And it’s difficult to get the addict to comply with these strict timetables. My daughter slept through 2 TB test readings – and had to have a 3rd TB test which only complied with public health criteria because I was able to closely monitor the reading and medical detox admission schedule. No addict would be able to manage and coordinate this on their own, in my opinion.
•heroin withdrawal does not require a medical detox. Although opiate withdrawal can be very unpleasant, painful, and difficult, the process is seldom fatal; withdrawing from alcohol is more dangerous and requires medical supervision. Heroin withdrawal symptoms include: drug cravings, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms that usually last about a week, but may last for many months. More info on heroin withdrawal.
•I realize now that my daughter’s carefully guarded purse, at all times, was a suspicious sign of drug use. And taking her purse in to the bathroom with her was definitely not normal behavior. And, odd cell phone use/calls – constantly running out of minutes, losing track of her phone, car keys – everything – weren’t just ‘kooky’ personality traits.
•bic lighters and bits of crumbled foil should be considered suspicious and most likely relate to crack cocaine/heroin use.
•nasal spray containers can be a flag for inhaled heroin use. Before a drug addict resorts to IV heroin use, they often dissolve heroin in saline and inhale it.
•my daughter was always in financial crises due to drug costs. Her power, water, and TV cable were being turned off regularly; she took out ‘PayDay” loans, pawned jewelry/electronics, was overdrawn in her bank accounts, received a constant barrage of collection agency/creditor letters, etc. Because she lived on her own in an apartment, I didn’t discover evidence of all of this until she was ultimately evicted from her apartment. In the process of trying to retrieve important, personal family artifacts from her apartment and dispose of her things, I discovered the drawer w/ 4 years of unopened mail. My daughter was, by then, living in a ‘crack house’.
•dirty fingernails and poor hygiene (click to read my post regarding this) are suspicious clues to drug use/abuse.
Because the strength of heroin varies and its impact is more unpredictable when used with alcohol or other drugs, the user never knows what might happen with the next dose. Know the Signs. How can you tell if a friend is using heroin? Signs and symptoms of heroin use are:
- Impaired mental functioning
- Slowed down respiration
- Constricted pupils
Signs of a heroin overdose include:
- Shallow breathing
- Pinpoint pupils
- Clammy skin
I can’t believe what I now know and how I learned it. Look for updates to this list, and I invite you to submit your own “tips”.
These signs/”tips” just in from viewers:
•missing spoons, ball point pens (the type you can take apart and use as a “straw”), tinfoil. My son kept very weird hours and his car kept getting dings and scrapes.
•”I found straws at my daughters apartment – assumed she liked to drink from them; tinfoil balls – didn’t give them a second thought. And every time I pulled a pen out of purse to write she’d say, “Can I have that?” Assumed she lost a lot of pens.”