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Addiction to Drugs/What drug is she on?


Around 6 months ago my child's mother was arrested for Xanax. She told me she had a pill problem but only did it due to stress. She is currently having to take drug test by court order and assures me she is not on any type of narcotic but I have a feeling she is. She has lost a tremendous amount of weight when she was already small. Slow somewhat slurred phone speech but at times very fast talking and not paying attention. I've notice a small rash on her skin. Multiple bruising (mainly legs). Her face looks sunk in. When I step back and add everything up , my first instinct says some type of stimulant but the slurred drunken speech says Xanax. Due to my job I see a lot of drug users and I hate saying it but the way her body has changed she looks like a prostitute whose body is being eaten up with hard drugs. Face, super skinny, bruises, skin rash on lower back, wearing a Ton of makeup covering up bumps.  I've tried thinking she was fine but multiple family members have noticed and even mentioned it to me. Thank you for any answer and feel free to ask anything. I see it daily but I have no idea how or what to do?

Hi Brandon,

Sorry to hear about what seems a tough situation, but one I encounter from time to time.  Opioid abuse and addiction is running rampant in this country, and it's definitely possible she's using a substance from that family of drugs.  But the benzodiazapines are also suspect here, with similar physically harmful effects and symptoms that you report.  Opioids are narcotics; "benzo' drugs are sedatives. Both are in the opposite direction in their action than stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine.  But it gets complicated, as the stimulants are also very physically destructive.

I would wonder why the drug tests have not returned positive for a drug of abuse, unless she's gaming the system somehow (pretty common).  

I tend to lean toward the opiates in terms of what's she using, but it's a hard call.  The benzos are widely abused, and sometimes used to deal with opioid withdrawal, as are methadone and Suboxone.  She's definitely abusing something.  If the court does not employ a sophisticated lab, the screens may not be reliable.  We use a state of the art lab where even urine sample tampering is detected.  And believe me, people do anything they can to avoid detection.

Where did she get the Xanax to begin with?  Prescribed?  And does she have a history of anxiety which would have necessitated that treatment?  

She may be using more than one substance.  Many people do, and it makes it unclear as to what's happening.  The drug screens are the answer, and if you have an attorney working on your behalf, I'd make it a point to get high-quality screens to really see what's going on.

There might be some evidence of needle use from what you describe, but as people use substances in general, they get all kinds of signs and symptoms, but needles can produce scarring, collapsed veins, welts, and infections.

Again, no clear sense at this point. Try to get those accurate drug screens!


Addiction to Drugs

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Peter L.


I am available to answer any questions about substance use, abuse, and dependence. I can also offer perspective on treatment options and how to motivate someone to get help. I have over 27 years of experience as a substance abuse treatment professional, working with adolescents and adults in a variety of treatment settings. I feel I can answer just about any question in this topic area but can also access reference sources, or direct you to these for additional information gathering or education on your own.


I am a professional addictions counselor working in a very highly respected treatment center, as well as having a private practice in two states.

Masters Degree in Behavioral Science Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in three states. Also an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

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