At the beginning of the Wisconsin Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (WIDEC), methamphetamine lab numbers were at their highest not only in the state of Wisconsin, but also across the nation. Children living in homes where methamphetamine is produced are at great risk of endangerment due to high explosion rates and chemical hazards found in the environment. As a call to action, states began forming drug endangered children programs.
Today, WIDEC is not just concerned with methamphetamine. WIDEC realizes that children in ANY drug environment are at risk of neglect and/or abuse due to the child's caregiver's use, distribution or manufacture of drugs.
WIDEC would like to call attention to the specific warning signs users exhibit as a result of taking drugs. When people are informed on what to look for and be cautious of, they are better equipped to report and most importantly protect the innocent children involved in such situations.
Below are a list of drugs and the prominent characteristics of their use and abuse, as well as significant warning signs to identify parents or caretakers of drug endangered children.
- Alcohol: slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes, poor balance, odor of alcohol, drooping eyes, flushed appearance, confused, lack of concentration, vomiting, aggressive behavior, exaggerated behavior, crying, exhibitionist behavior
- Marijuana/Synthetic Marijuana: bloodshot eyes, euphoria, laughing, disorientation, impaired time & distance perception, binge eating, sweet smoky smell, dry mouth, unable to concentrate, short-term memory loss, hacking cough, lazy laid back appearance, unmotivated, talkative
- Stimulants: irritable, dilated pupils, intense emotions, fidgeting, headaches, difficulty concentrating, agitation, excessive activity, loss of appetite, insomnia
- "Ecstasy" (MDMA): extreme euphoria, dilated pupils, teeth grinding, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, paranoia, loss of appetite, anxiety, increased body temp, insomnia
- Depressants: slurred speech, staggering gait, depressed, spasmodic movement of eyes, unsteady, poor balance, confusion, droopy eyes, tired
- Cough Medicine: euphoria, hallucinations, loss of coordination, drowsiness, increased pulse & blood pressure, hypothermia, slurred speech
- Inhalants: chemical odor, sores/red marks around mouth and nose, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, impaired attention, slurred speech, nosebleeds, nausea, vomiting, poor balance & coordination
- Hallucinogens: sense of detachment from surroundings, hallucinations, fixed eyes, blank stare, anxiety, panic, distorted reality, slurred or blocked speech
- Cocaine: excitability, anxiety, dramatic mood swings, runny nose, sores around nose, hacking cough
- "Crack": tremors, involuntary muscular movements, paranoia
- Methamphetamine: excitability, anxiety, tremors, involuntary muscular movements, dry mouth, dizziness, chest pain, teeth grinding, dilated pupils, tooth decay, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, increased blood pressure, insomnia (awake for days at a time, then crashing & sleeping for days), sores on body (meth bugs), excessive scratching of skin. In addition, withdrawal from family and friends, lack of appetite, extreme weightloss, iritability, high body temperature, extreme depression, repetitive or compulsive behaviors
- Narcotics: constricted pupils, low raspy voice, droopy eyes, poor coordination, dry mouth
- Steroids: depression, violent outbursts, sudden weight gain, change in muscle mass, increased hair growth, irritability, acne, high blood pressure
- Nicotine: odor, yellow fingers, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, low raspy voice, dizziness
- Heroin: surge of euphoria, clouded thinking, wakeful and drowsy states, depressed breathing
- "Bath Salts": agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicidality, high blood pressure, increased pulse, psychosis, and stimulatory effects
*Withdrawal Symptoms: Any of the following symptoms can be signs of drug withdrawal: nausea, sweating, tremors, agitation, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, confusion, headaches, tired, anxiety, thirst, cramps, craving