“Our people: we are responsible for each other and ourselves.”– Kodiak Sugpiaq/Alutiiq Cultural Value
Source: Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Can I Tell If Someone Is Misusing Substances?
If someone is using drugs, you might notice changes in how the person looks or acts. Here are some signs that somebody might be using drugs:
- lose interest in school
- change friends (to hang out with kids who use drugs)
- become moody, negative, cranky, or worried all the time
- ask to be left alone a lot
- have trouble concentrating
- sleep a lot (maybe even in class)
- get in fights
- have red or puffy eyes
- lose or gain weight
- cough a lot
- have a runny nose all of the time
If you are noticing some signs of addiction in your life or in the life of someone you love and care about you may be asking how can I help? What can I do?
First, remember that the choice to stop drinking or using drugs is ultimately their responsibility. No one can force another person to stop if they don’t want to stop. Helping someone you care about stop drinking or using drugs can be difficult but you can help in a few ways.
- Let the person know you care about them and that you are worried. Listen to them without anger or judgment – sometimes talking it through with someone else is the best help.
- Find other ways of spending time together instead of drinking or using drugs. You can hang out with friends who don’t drink or use drugs, go for a run or walk, go hunting or fishing, watch a movie, or listen to music.
- Talk with a trusted adult like a family member, a teacher, or a youth worker. Talking to someone you trust can be helpful and they may have suggestions on how to help that person.
- Encourage and support them if they are deciding to stop drinking or using drugs. You can do this by looking for resources or someone in your area who can help. This can be encouraging them to talk with their doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or even a family member.
These are just a few examples of what you can do to help yourself or someone else chooses a healthier lifestyle – free from alcohol and drugs. Ultimately, the choice is yours! Remember your life can be more satisfying and fulfilling when your physical, mental and emotional health is balanced.
Where to Get Help
Finding treatment for alcohol or substance misuse can be one of the most challenging steps to recovery. But getting help for an alcohol or substance use problem will allow your patient, your loved one, or yourself to live a healthier and more productive life.
The Alaska CareLine is a 27/7, 365-day-a-year confidential prevention lifeline specifically for Alaska residents.
The Alaska CareLine: 877-266-HELP (4357) or text “4help” to 839863
The National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service can provide you with somebody to talk to as well as help you find treatment programs in your area.
The National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
The following resources should be used to explore treatment and recovery programs available throughout Alaska.
- State of Alaska Statewide Bed Availability: http://bedcount.dhss.alaska.gov/BedCount/statewide.aspx?ProgramType=SRT
- SAMHSA Treatment Service Locator: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
- Recover Alaska Alcohol Treatment Program: https://recoveralaska.org/treatment/