In San Bernardino County, California, a 16-month investigation culminated in the seizure of 12 pounds of methamphetamine and 18 weapons as well as 70 arrests. The FBI, District Attorney’s Office, San Bernardino County, and other local officials all worked together to make it happen.
Warrants for arrest issued by the District Attorney’s Office included charges for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, and methamphetamine as well as a slew of weapons charges.
Specifically troubling about this bust was the involvement of gangs. Two local gangs were targeted, both of which often recruit kids from local schools and neighborhoods. It is always a good thing in terms of public safety when this much product is taken off the street, and it is also beneficial to everyone in the community when gang activity is quelled, even slightly.
But for families that are struggling with addiction, the problems do not go away with drug busts and arrests. Rather, for some, it can mean higher levels of stress and a highly tense situation at home.
Is your family in crisis due to drug use and abuse?
Identifying the Problem
Because so many people view recreational drug use as fine, it can be difficult to tell if or when use of any substance has become a problem that requires intervention and treatment. Here are some things you can do to determine if it’s time to access help for someone in your home.
- Have an honest and open conversation. If you believe that someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, ask them about. Keep the questions nonjudgmental and open-ended, asking their opinion on their use of substances and the impact it’s having on their lives. If they seem hostile or if you are afraid that their reaction will be explosive, this could be a sign that there is something troublesome about their substance use.
- Identify unknown substances. You may have to do a little bit of sleuthing to uncover the answers to some nagging questions if you are concerned you are not getting truthful answers from your loved one. This can include identifying all substances they are taking or that are among their possessions that are unfamiliar to you. For example, if they often have pills but those pills seem to look different from time to time, look them up to see what they are and what they do.
- Notice the lies. Did your loved one say he would be back in 20 minutes but then he didn’t come home for two hours? Did your loved one say that she lost her pills, later say that she forgot to reorder them, and then later say that she never got enough in the first script? Are you finding money or belongings missing? Little things like this can add up to the sudden realization that your loved one is hiding a substance use disorder.
- Consider long-term changes. If you think back to your relationship with your loved one a few years ago, do you notice stark differences in their personality, how you relate to each other, or how they live? Sometimes it takes stepping back and considering how things once were compared to now to recognize the things that may have changed slowly over time.
Consider a More Formal Conversation
If you have had informal conversations about the current situation with your loved one and gotten little to no response or a promise that they would stop drinking or getting high but with no progress, then it may be time to stage an intervention. This formal conversation takes place between you, your loved one, and a few other family members who are similarly concerned about the trajectory their lives have taken due to the disease of addiction. A professional interventionist, otherwise known as a family mediator, may be helpful as you plan and stage the intervention itself. No matter how you go about it, the goal is very simple: to gently and lovingly help your loved one recognize the need for treatment and to immediately leave to begin that treatment without delay.
Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?
The progress that law enforcement and other agencies are making in removing drugs from the street is a positive step in the right direction, but if someone you love is struggling with addiction, you may be the only one who can help them get the help they need. Are you ready to take the first step?