A Guide to Teachers: Spotting Drug Abuse

Substance abuse, or drug abuse is excessively and repeatedly using chemicals to change perception or achieve a different state of mind. Substance abuse has many causes, the most common ones include, peer pressure, academic stress, teenage depression or other untreated emotional or physical causes. Being a teacher, it is important to understand and help your students, even the ones abusing substances, and noticing the signs of drug abuse is the first step toward a positive change.

Teachers and students interact on a daily basis, this makes it easy for a teacher to notice subtle behavioral changes and signs of drug abuse in a student. With close observation one can easily spot the signs of substance abuse among your students and help them take appropriate action for finding help. Importantly, remember that many signs of drug abuse exist, and its a cardinal sin to presume without being sure.

All students are at a risk of coming under the kind of influence that encourages drug use. Pretty much any student might abuse drugs, no matter what the student’s background is. There are some symptoms though, that make it more likely for a student to try drugs. These include a family history of drug abuse, depression and other mental illnesses, a low self esteem and antisocial behavior.

A student who is abusing drugs, is likely express disinterest in any extracurricular activities that might happen in the school. Such students will lack the enthusiasm to partake in school work, hobbies, sports or even making new friends or maintaining old ones. Its quite likely for them to develop a rebellious and unfriendly attitude, be unhygienic, display improper grooming and isolate themselves from everyone else.

The physical signs of drug abuse are also quite noticeable. Some of the physical symptoms of drug abuse include, bloodshot red eyes, dark circles, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, sore throat and pale skin. While any unwell student can display these symptoms, a drug user will always have, all or some of these symptoms.

The most obvious of all signs of drug abuse among students is the change in academic performance. Here are some generally accepted indicators of a student abusing drugs.

1) Quality of homework and other schoolwork decreases significantly.

2) Daydreaming or sleeping during lessons and displaying an intense lack of interest.

3) Almost always late, takes long breaks and leaves for home early.

4) Is often absent from classes.

5) Appears confused and cannot concentrate.

6) Doesn’t care for anyone’s, including their own, safety.

7) Makes basic errors in judgement and has trouble performing easy tasks.

8) Avoids all other students.

9) Makes excuses and blames other for own mistakes.

10) Claims that things are perfect and nothing has changed.

11) Is suddenly losing or gaining weight.

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The Correlation Between Drug Abuse And Healthcare Costs

A study conducted by an organization known as Monitoring the Future, found that 47% of teenagers had involved used illegal drugs before they completed high school. This is not only a problem attributed to the youth, since it is found in adults too. Illegal drugs have a detrimental effect on the livelihoods of the people who use them, making it a national concern. People have lost their lives, and caused untold pain to those who are around them. These drugs have also led to a high level of crime, an issue, which has led to the formation of enforcement agencies, to fight the vice. There is a significant relationship between Drug Abuse and Health Care Cost.

How the abuse of drugs affects healthcare costs.

People who use illegal drugs spend a lot of time in medical facilities, due to a myriad of problems brought about by consumption of the drugs. These drugs affect your health directly by compromising your immune system. If you abuse drugs, you will always be suffering from one illness to another, thereby resulting in more visits to the hospital, than you would, if you were not abusing the drugs. This considerably increases the cost of health care per capita. Insurance companies that provide healthcare schemes are therefore forced to increase the amount of money that you pay, in the form of premiums. Government healthcare schemes are also stretched thus, providing lower cover for people. Drug abuse also has an indirect effect on the cost of healthcare. Scores of people around you will be affected when you abuse drugs. Accidents, on people who do not use drugs, caused by people who are under the influence of drugs are on the increase. These people need medical care, and therefore have to spend large sums of money, treating a condition that was not of their own doing. This is how drugs, directly and indirectly, affect the cost of healthcare provision.

Apart from increasing the cost of providing emergency medical response to people who abuse drugs, a large volume of financial resources goes into curative drug abuse programs. These are programs designed to help you stop abusing drugs. The reason why they are expensive is because they take a long time to have any measurable effect, and they are conducted by highly paid professionals. Drug rehabilitation programs have a draining effect on the exchequer. A lot of taxes are used in creating programs that help people to stop using drugs. Private medical care schemes also spend a lot of money in paying for private rehabilitation of drug addicts in clinics or at home. The costs are further increased by the fact that you still have to be monitored after you leave a rehabilitation facility. This is done so you do not suffer a relapse, and end up where you began.

How you can help lower the healthcare costs brought about by drug abuse.

The first step towards lowering this cost is to stay away from drugs in the first place. Get involved with your peers, and other members of your community, to educate people on the dangers of abusing these drugs. Your efforts will reduce the cost of providing healthcare to drug addicts. If you, or anyone you know, are abusing drugs, you should seek immediate help from a professional. The cost of rehabilitation can be reduced considerably, if you make a personal commitment to staying away from illicit drugs. If you go through a rehabilitation program, only to relapse later, you will have increased the national cost of healthcare provision.

The untold story of abusing prescription drugs

Although the abuse of illegal drugs is a primary concern, when it comes to the cost of providing healthcare, the abuse of prescription drugs, to a lesser extent, also contributes to this issue. When you are addicted to prescription drugs, you will have to spend a lot of money buying the drugs, when you do not need them. To stop this, you should use all prescription drugs according to the directions given by your physician. Do not use the drugs, for a longer period than that prescribed. If you do not get b

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