Chesterton Tribune

Know the signs of drug addiction, be vigilant

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The contagion is in your community. It’s in your neighborhood. It could be in your home.

Karen Conover, a member of the Community Action Drug Coalition and the mother of a recovering addict, made one thing absolutely clear at the anti-drug forum April 13 at Willowcreek Middle School in Portage: any home, however apparently happy and healthy, could harbor an addict.

“Addiction knows no boundaries and does not discriminate,” Conover said. “In today’s world all of our children are susceptible to its destruction. It may be a deadly mistake to believe that this could not happen to your honor roll student or child athlete or the old adage about keeping them busy with school activities and sports and then everything will be fine. Your child is at risk. No matter their grades or their positive involvements, don’t fool yourself into believing otherwise.”

Know the signs, Conover said, be vigilant, and be hopeful.

The following were compiled by a recovering addict and made available by the Community Action Drug Coalition:

Know the Signs

•A lack of emotion and a consistently negative attitude.

•Drastic changes in style, such as clothing and music.

•Around the house: missing spoons, soda cans ripped in two, Ziploc bags, small pieces of foil.

•Avoidance of conversation, claims of being misunderstood.

•Long sleeves or clothing inappropriate for the weather.

•Sleeping for extended period of times.

•Always having to be somewhere, persistent telephone calls, eagerness to leave any family event, constant preoccupation.

•Upset stomach and nausea.

•Bad acne outbreaks.

•Consistently missing school on Mondays but never on Fridays.

•Extreme fatigue

•Always scratching dry red nose and face.

•Disruption of your daughter’s menstrual cycle.

•Valuable personal items suddenly missing or “borrowed” or “loaned.”

Be Vigilant

•Beware of your child’s older friends and associates.

•Monitor the mileage on family vehicles.

•Monitor your child’s spending habits and use of cash.

Worst-Case Scenario

•Your child is unlikely to admit using drugs, but if caught will attempt to trivialize the situation.

•Addicts are skilled liars. They will deceive and manipulate you.

•Expect your child to play the guilt card and to make his drug use about you. Don’t allow him to take control of the situation.

•Seek immediate professional help. Don’t ignore the problem. It won’t go away but will get worse.

•Don’t place blame or guilt. Don’t demoralize your child or lose your temper.

•Your child needs to know you love him, now more than ever.

•Your child can’t help himself by himself and you can’t do it for him.

•Your child’s future, possibly his life, is in need of saving. Help him to save it.

Some Resources

•Porter County Substance Abuse Council: 462-0946. Call for information on drugs and to purchase drug-testing kits for $5.

•Porter County Drug Task Force: 465-3629. Call to report suspicious or known drug activity in your neighborhood.

•Porter-Starke Services: 531-3500. Call for treatment options.

•Pathways in Indianapolis: (317) 585-6953. Treatment for persons aged 13-18.

•Behavioral Health Care in Plymouth: (800) 795-6252. Adolescent inpatient care.

•Hazelden in Center City, Minn.: (800) 257-7800. Adolescent and adult inpatient care.

Manda’s Story

The event concluded with Manda’s Story, Dr. Mann Spitler’s poignant account of the heroin addiction which claimed his daughter’s life in 2002. The Chesterton Tribune covered that account in its April 15, 2004, edition. “The secret life of a heroin addict: Manda’s Story” may be accessed at

Secret life of a heroin addict: Manda's story


Posted 4/21/2005