Substance “Misuse” & The First Responder

By Safe Call Now Admin Staff

There are many telltale signs that can suggest that a first responder is misusing medication, drugs and/or alcohol. Depending on the substance that is being misused, the amount of the given substance or substances that is being consumed, and the length of time an individual have been struggling with substance misuse can all affect the obviousness of a substance problem. If you are concerned that you or a loved one is battling substance misuse, it is a good idea to take note of the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Declined participation in things that were once enjoyed
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Poor coordination
  • Increased conflict with others
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Change in peer group
  • Unwarranted outbursts of varying emotions
  • Missing days of work
  • Inability to fulfill roles or responsibilities
  • Hyperactivity


Physical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Poor hygiene
  • Injection sites
  • Shakiness / tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss / gain
  • Insomnia / hypersomnia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech


Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired memory
  • Derealization
  • Poor decision-making
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Inability to reason
  • Psychosis
  • Delayed thinking
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration


Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Changes in temperament


If you, someone you love or someone you know needs help, call:

Safe Call Now:  24 Hour Confidential Hotline:  206-459-3020

For more information on the First Responders program:  Click here

Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008