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When a family member makes the choice to abuse drugs and/or alcohol there can be consequences for the entire family. The individual may create many difficulties not only for himself but often for those around him. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has created a program to educate and help people who are trying to understand or deal with abuse of alcohol and other substances.

The following information is an excerpt from one of the resources found on the NIDA website. For further information you may visit www.drugabuse.gov

When a person has a drug problem, they have a disease that can hurt the family. Drug abuse puts a lot of stress on parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents—anyone who is part of the home.

When family members take drugs:

You can’t count on them to do what they say they will do.

They may forget or get distracted because their focus is on getting and taking drugs.

They might lie or steal money to buy drugs.

They might get fired from their jobs.

They might not come home at night.

They may do bad things they would never do if they weren’t abusing drugs.

Family members might fight a lot because of the problems the drug abuse is causing. The drug user might do and say things that upset neighbors and friends, and make the family ashamed.

Some people who are addicted don’t believe that they are sick and out of control, so they don’t look for treatment. They don’t see the problems they are causing themselves and those around them. Other people who are addicted are aware of the problem, but may be so upset and confused that they do not know how to ask for or get help.

If you are experiencing a problem within your family, seek help. There are numerous resources available in Porter County. You may go to www.empowerpc.org for a listing of resources and treatment centers. You do not have to deal with this problem by yourself.

When a family member uses drugs, the kids get hurt. Next week’s article will deal with problems that arise when parents abuse drugs or have an addiction problem. Children encounter very specific problems when their parent or guardian is incapable of taking care of them.

(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

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Kaye Frataccia is the program manager for Around the Table. This column solely represents the writer’s opinion.

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