after extremely high doses. This state clears as the user
eliminates the drug from the body.
A person under the influence of marijuana has a
harder time making decisions that require clear thinking;
therefore, the user becomes more open to other people's
suggestions. Since marijuana affects peoples reflexes
and thinking, their performance of some tasks while
under the influence of the drug is dangerous, such as
Drug abuse in its various forms can produce
identifiable effects. However, persons taking drugs
under a physicians instructions may sometimes
experience side effects that may be mistaken as signs of
drug abuse. For example, such disorders as epilepsy,
diabetes, or asthma may require maintenance drug
therapy that will produce low-level side effects; or a
person might be drowsy from taking a nonprescription
product, such as an antihistamine. Many people use
legitimate drugs following a physicians
instructionsbut without the knowledge of their
associates. Therefore, finding tablets, capsules, or other
forms of drugs on a person suspected of being an abuser
does not necessarily mean the drugs are narcotics or
some other dangerous drug. A clue to the possibility of
drug abuse comes with seeing the same symptoms over
and over again.
No instant tests exist for identification of most
drugs. The only way many drugs can be identified is
through a series of complicated laboratory procedures
performed by a trained technician. Simple visual
inspection cannot be relied upon for drug identification.
Many potent drugs that are misused arc identical in
appearance to relatively harmless drugs-many of which
people can easily get without a prescription.
Not all drug abuse-related character changes appear
harmful in the initial stages. For example, a person who
is normally bored and sleepy may, while using
amphetamines, become more alert and thereby improve
performance. A nervous, high-strung person may, while
using barbiturates, be more imperative and easier to
manage. Consequent y, you must not look only for
changes for the worse, but you must look for any sudden
changes in behavior. The cause could be drug abuse.
Signs that may suggest drug abuse include sudden
and dramatic changes in discipline and job performance,
unusual degrees of activity or inactivity, and sudden
displays of emotion. Abusers may show significant
changes for the worse in personal appearance; they often
become indifferent to their appearance and health
Other more specific signs should also arouse
suspicion, especially if a person exhibits more than one
of these signs. Among them is secretive behavior
regarding actions and possessions (fear of discovery).
For example, abusers may wear sunglasses at
inappropriate times and places to hide dilated or
constricted pupils; they may also wear long-sleeve
garments, even on hot days, to hide needle marks. Of
course, when a person associates with known drug
abusers, that is a sign of potential trouble.
Because of the expense of supporting a drug habit,
abusers may try to borrow money from a number of
people. If they fail to get money that way, abusers will
often steal items, such as cameras, radios, or jewelry,
that can easily be converted to cash.
Persons with a severe habit will use drugs while on
duty. In such cases, you may find them at odd times in
places such as closets or storage rooms.
Generally, drugs have indirect harmful effects.
Because abusers may not feel hungry, they often suffer
from malnutrition; and because they are so involved
with taking the drug, they usually neglect themselves.
They are more likely to contract infections because of
their poor nutrition and because they may inject
contaminated drugs intravenously. They are also likely
to use poor or unsterile injection techniques. That may
result in serious or fatal septicemia (blood-poisoning),
hepatitis, and abscesses at the point of injection as well
as in internal organs. Contaminated needles are also
known to spread AIDS.
Although you may have difficulty recognizing drug
abusers, you should take the steps needed to provide
them with help when you realize they have a drug
problem. Spotting drug abuse in its early stages (when
professional help can be effective) can result in the
rehabilitation of many potential hard-core addicts.
The Navy has adopted the use of urinalysis testing
as a major means of detecting and deterring drug abuse.
The main objective of urinalysis testing programs is to
detect and deter abuse. This ensures the continued
visibility of the commands drug abuse program. The
term random sampling applies to any command
urinalysis testing program in which the individuals to be
tested are selected at random. All members, regardless