Over the past years, the rate of drug abuse in the United States has been consistently rising. What’s worse is that the prevalence of cocaine and heroin have not only stayed in the urban areas but have quickly progressed towards the rural areas, particularly the small towns and suburbs. That is why you and I, who live right in our small corners, must be aware of the subtle signs that our neighbors who used to just sit around and have coffee with some friends have unfortunately been led to this life-damaging disease.
Are you staying in a small town? Do you feel that something suspicious is going on with your neighbor but you just can’t pinpoint what it is? Maybe they’re using drugs – or perhaps dealing!
Here are some signs to watch out for in your neighborhood that we found in ours.
Rolling Papers. There used to be one or two brands of rolling papers in the market, but recently there are tons of brands out there. Most people prefer the organic hemp, and some like the ones with flavors like blackberry, raspberry, pineapple, or peaches. This is one of the things – or rather crumpled residues of these papers – you’ll see in the trash or in the backyard of your neighbors who are into illegal drugs.
Cigarette Wrappers. Perhaps you noticed wrinkled cigar wraps on the streets as you walked to your house one night. These small cigars are what pot smokers use. They tear the wraps, empty the cigar sticks, and fill them with marijuana.
They like these wraps because they also have them in flavors such as wild berry, watermelon, and grapes. But really, any type of cigar wrapper can be used for filling their marijuana.
Suboxone Wraps. Drug addicts use this opiate to mask their dependence on heroin or painkillers. One can still be ‘high’ with this synthetic film but not as much as heroin, which is why they use this to avoid withdrawal sickness. It’s wrapped in white and blue paper that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. The opioid is the buprenorphine and the drug naloxone, when injected, is responsible for preventing a person from getting high. If you happen to see this packaging, then a poor kid or teenager in your neighborhood is currently treated for addiction to opioid.
Addicted Neighbors. You and your friends may have already noticed some neighbors who you suspect as drug users. You’ll confirm this if you observe some visible signs because someone who uses heroin, meth, cocaine, or synthetic drugs and has experienced a severe blow in his life will have taken on distinct behaviors.
A drug abuser is typically thin with a sullen face. His clothes are extra huge for him, and they’re usually stained and dirty. For someone who is a cocaine addict, he would look like he’s in eternal pain. He would look homeless as he walks the neighborhood, begging and asking for some money so he could get another fix.
Practical Things You Can Do
If you’ve been seeing the signs above in your neighborhood, then you should be concerned for you and your family’s safety. First things first – talk to your children. Go through the names of the drugs, particularly marijuana and alcohol, and talk to them in detail about their dangers. If you need to learn more about these yourself, then search the web together.
Pushing problematic people away from your neighborhood is a serious issue, so you will need to collect valid and sensible evidence of your suspicions. Keep a journal of your observations – their daily activities, their guests, what they do with their time in the house – all that information will be very useful to the police when you report to them. If you find the chance to take pictures of what you see in their backyard, like the wrappers or pills or needles, that would make a strong proof for them to be considered dangerous.
Also, you may want to ask for help from your other concerned neighbors and civic organizations about improving the conditions of your community, like adding more streetlights to enhance safety.
A drug-free neighborhood should be as important to everyone in a community. So you and I must participate in keeping our homes and families safe. Be vigilant.