The Opioid Crisis: How to help a loved one who is addicted

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ANCHORAGE, Ak, KTUU Last week, a doctor from Soldotna and a nurse practitioner from Eagle River were arrested and charged in federal court for illegally over-prescribing opiates for years, raising a lot of questions regarding prescription drug abuse.

Today in the 5 O'clock Report, Channel 2's Rebecca Palsha spoke with the CEO of Akeela House Recovery Center, Dr. Courtney Donovan, to get some tips on what families should look out for when they suspect a loved one might be mis-using opioids.

According to Donovan, some of those signs could be:

1. The patient's prescriptions do not last them as long as their prescribing physician intended them to.

2. They suddenly become very private and protective over their space and their belongings, such as beginning to lock doors or drawers, changing passwords, hiding or restricting access to their purse, backpack, or mail.

3. A significant portion of their time is dedicated to obtaining, taking, and recovering from using opioids.

4. They demonstrate significant changes in their daily routine or behaviors, such as skipping school or neglecting work responsibilities.

5. They continue using opioids despite negative consequences; they are aware that they are losing their friends or that they are about to be fired from their job, but their use continues.

6. Significant changes in mood; such as suddenly becoming sullen and withdrawn or a normally reserved person taking on the "life of the party" role.

7. Physical appearances and personal hygiene may become less important.

You can watch that full interview above to learn more about what steps to take if you suspect a loved one is addicted to opioids, and where to find help.

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