BALTIMORE, MD – A skinny figure in a dark alley shooting up is no longer representative of illegal drug use across the nation.
He’s been replaced by everyone -- an elementary school student, a corporate executive, a first responder, a police officer, a grandmother.
And, often, young people don’t even have to leave their homes to obtain substances, Jason Martin, a paramedic and nurse from CoxHealth in Missouri told Firehouse Expo attendees on Friday.
Some youths have to go no further than their medicine cabinets and refrigerators to find things that will get them high. Alcohol, over-the-counter and prescription drugs are easily available.
Martin, who educates responders and the public about substance abuse issues, said: “There’s still a lot of denial. The parents will say ‘not my kid.’ They’ll ignore warning signs like changes in grades, friends and other behavioral changes.”
He urged responders to keep up on the latest concoctions and the problems they can cause. No call should be considered routine as there just may be drug use involvement.
Easy, and mostly unsupervised use of the internet, helps young people who are interested in experimenting with drugs.
“I was surprised you could buy liquid nicotine, which is legal,” he said, adding that in addition to drinking it, it can be absorbed.
A person who is under the influence of it will appear anxious. Respiratory and cardiac issues can occur as well.
“Drug use is a community problem,” he added. “And, everyone needs to get involved to help prevent it…”
He added that heroin deaths are on the rise due to the purity.
In one Missouri community last year, 187 elementary school students were removed from their homes because of drug use by parents. And, 48 babies were born addicted, compared to five the year before.