Minnesota ABE Disabilities Portal

Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disability Specialists

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Chemical health issues cut across the board in regards to gender, race, age, geographic location and socio-economic status.  They don’t discriminate.  However, there are risk factors that can increase the risk of alcohol and drug use.

Watch for these signs, and, if necessary, intervene. Education, counseling, assistance and supports can be put into place before problems begin. 

Risk factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquiring a disability
  • Unemployment or under employment
  • Poverty
  • Peer pressure
  • Homelessness
  • History of abuse issues
  • Family history of addiction
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Divorce
  • Chronic pain
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty adjusting to change
  • Having another mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD or PTSD.

Identifying Specific Chemical Use

Clumsiness, difficult walking, slurred speech, sleepiness, poor judgment, dilated pupils, odor.

Same as listed in stimulants with high blood pressure, increased self- confidence, inability to sleep, delusional, paranoia, burns on face/mouth, increased depression later, when drug wears off.

Appearance of drunkenness, but without the associated odor of alcohol, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, poor judgment, slurred speech, sleepiness and contracted pupils.

Ecstasy (MDMA)
Similar to stimulants, with increased anxiety, mood swings, nausea, sweating, loss of appetite, vomiting, tremors, high body temperature, headache, fainting.

Dilated pupils, bizarre and irrational behavior, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, confusion, slurred speech, detachment from people, mood swings, absorption with self or other objects.

Needle marks, sleeping at unusual times, vomiting, sweating, coughing and sniffing, twitching, loss of appetite, contracted pupils, pupils do not react to light

Watery eyes, impaired vision, memory issues, secretions and/or rashes around the mouth and nose, headaches, nausea, appearance of intoxication, drowsiness, poor muscle control, changes in appetite, anxiety and irritability.

Glassy, red eyes, loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, a sweet burnt smell on person, loss of interest and motivation, weight changes.

Similar to stimulants, with mood swings from happy to irritated, violence, paranoia, depression, vomiting, picking at imaginary things such as bugs under the skin, high blood pressure, chemical smell.

Hyperactivity, euphoria, irritability, excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times, may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping, dilated pupils, weight loss, dry mouth and nose.

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