Substance Abuse Issues in Colorado Go Beyond Marijuana

I’ll never forget the day I woke up to a raid happening just a few houses down the street. Our quiet little neighborhood was home to a large drug operation, within five hundred feet of a school. This can be surprising, because it is no secret that Colorado has legalized marijuana. Yet, the substance abuse problem won’t go away.

Coloradans also heavily consume opioid painkillers, alcohol and cocaine. According to a 2016 survey, Colorado is the only state that is a heavy consumer of all four substances. The fight against the ongoing opioid epidemic is gaining renewed energy with the Opioid Summit held in March 2018 at the White House. A national “Take Back Day” has been held annually the last couple of years to provide a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs.

There are many indicators of substance abuse and not all of them are easily recognizable. Here are things to look for if you think a loved one is abusing substances:

  1. Using opioid painkillers for non-medical purposes
  2. Changes in mood or personality, becoming withdrawn, depressed, angry, forgetful, aggressive, and dishonest, especially when these are not a person’s normal behavior
  3. Physical problems, such as loss of appetite, redness in and around the eyes, scars or marks on the body, and slurred speech

If you suspect someone is abusing a substance or are not sure, speak up. Ask questions. Offer support.

People with substance abuse problems are more likely to have success in becoming sober if they enter a rehabilitation program, such as The Recovery Village. Substance abuse resources are available for every individual situation. There are Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery meetings in all major cities in Colorado. If you or someone you know suffers from substance abuse, seek help now.

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