If you are unsure as to the identity of a drug, Poison Control (434-924-5543) is a great resource.  If you are worried about somebody's physiological state, you can take them to the emergency room, or ask them if they want to call an ambulance. If somebody is tripping, meaning they are experiencing hallucinations or other side effects of a drug, reassure them what they are experiencing is only a hallucination and you try to stay with them until they feel okay. If somebody’s life is in danger or there are signs of a probable suicide attempt, revert to the suicide prevention policies. 

Drug Emergencies

A drug emergency may be occurring if a person has one of the following reactions:

1. Panic Reaction: The person is usually a first time user (marijuana, a hallucinogen such as LSD, a stimulant such as cocaine or amphetamines) who may develop fears they have done physical harm to themselves or they are losing touch with reality.

2. Flashback: After repeated use of hallucinogens, the caller may feel high without recent drug use. The person usually reports a mildly altered sense of time or visual hallucinations. 

3. Toxic Reaction/Overdose: Occurs most frequently with CNS depressants. The characteristics vary depending on the drug taken.

4. Withdrawal: Physical and psychological symptoms differ with different drugs. There is a danger if bodily functions are severely depressed or if a person is convulsing.

The Positive Trip

Someone on a positive trip may feel control, euphoria, or satisfaction.

Techniques for managing and maintain a positive trip include avoiding threatening subjects and arguing or disagreeing.  Keep the atmosphere friendly, cheerful, and helpful, and provide diversions when appropriate to maintain a positive atmosphere. Remain empathetic.

The Negative Trip

Someone on a negative trip may feel anxious, a lack of control, strong feelings of dislike, or paranoia.  

Techniques for turning a negative trip into a positive one include diverting their attention, reassuring them that you're there to help them, encourage them to verbalize their experiences, remind them that they are hallucinating.


In the U.S. approximately one in twelve adults suffers from alcohol dependence.  The problem drinker may get intoxicated frequently, may hurt themselves or someone else while drunk, and often needs a drink to function rather than for their own enjoyment. A problem drinker has the ability to, and sometimes does, decide to quit.    In contrast, a person who struggles with alcoholism will continue to use and abuse alcohol even though this behavior leads to continuous problems in any or all of their important relationships. There is a consistent lack of control

Warning Signs of Developing Alcoholism

Blackouts: The drinker remains awake and active, but they cannot remember events or conversation for periods of time ranging from minutes to hours.  

Gulping drinks

Stockpiling liquor

Symptoms of Progressing Alcoholism

Family and friends begin to notice and make comments.

Denial: The drinker insists they have control and can stop at any time. They may even stop for a limited period of time to prove themselves.

Self-esteem diminishes into a poor self-image.

Guilt and fear begin with traces of remorse and self-pity.

Ignoring or avoiding responsibilities such as family, school, or a job because these are non-drinking activities. 

Alcoholics Anonymous is a dependable resource for those struggling with or concerned about alcoholism.

Alcoholism in the Family

This disease causes many issues for those who love and live with a person who struggles with alcoholism.  The following emotions are often present in those with alcoholic family members and may be useful to discuss: Guilt, Shame, Resentment, Insecurity.

Keep in mind the previously described characteristics are not a complete description of these situations, but are general outlines of how a person struggling with alcoholism may influence both themselves and their home environment.

Al-non, Alateen, and Adult Children of Alcoholics are all support agencies for those with family members dealing with alcoholism.