Warning signs that a law enforcement officer might be suffering from a drug addiction.
Law enforcement officers are in a high stress position that puts them into the middle of dangerous situations every day. This stress can sometimes cause officers to turn to drugs to make the job easier. There are several warning signs that a law enforcement officer might be suffering from a drug addiction.
Drugs alter your mind and the chemicals in your brain. A police officer with a drug addiction is likely to show erratic and potentially risky behavior. This is because the drugs are inhibiting the ability to make fast and reasonable decisions. They could also be affecting the part of the brain that inhibits unnecessarily risky behaviors. An officer might start cutting corners, interacting aggressively with the public or handling weapons and vehicles recklessly.
Drug abuse usually leads to isolation. An officer could start taking an unusually high number of days off in order to feed the addiction or recover from drug use the previous day. The absences usually become more frequent as the drug use increases. This can start to cause serious problems that could result in the officer being suspended, reviewed or even removed from the position.
Drowsiness or Hyperactivity:
Different drugs cause different effects. A law enforcement officer who suddenly shows extreme drowsiness or hyperactivity during the day might be caused by drug addiction. Some drugs cause a state of euphoria followed by overwhelming drowsiness. The officer might even fall asleep while working. Alternately, drugs could cause the officer to become hyperactive and tense. If these behaviors start unexpectedly, then drugs could be the problem.
Vanishing During the Day:
A law enforcement officer with a drug addiction might start vanishing at different points during the day. The officer might vanish into a bathroom or around the corner without any real explanation. The officer might drive away in a personal vehicle or come back very late from lunch each day. This time away is usually spent taking drugs or securing more drugs for later.
An officer with a drug addiction is likely to attempt to hide the substance abuse from superiors, other officers and even close partners. This is going to lead to secretive behaviors. Secretive behaviors include things like hiding the identities of people who call the officer, not allowing others to see inside desk draws or lockers and lying about activities or friends. All of these actions could indicate that the officer is attempting to mask a drug addiction.
Changes in Appearance:
Changes in appearance can be a sign of a drug addiction. An officer might start appearing sloppy or unkempt. This can extend to the state of the uniform or clothes worn while working. The officer might also have physical changes like a gaunt face, bloodshot eyes or a reddish complexion depending on the drugs being used. Changes in appearance mean that the officer has probably been abusing drugs for some time and needs help immediately.
Borrowing Money or Stealing:
Financial problems usually follow drug addiction. An officer who is constantly borrowing money might have a serious drug habit. Some officers might actually turn to stealing law enforcement equipment, the personal property of other officers or random items in the workplace in order to get money for drugs. The financial problems will grow worse as the officer starts to need larger amount of the substance.
Changes in Performance:
A final sign of drug use is if the performance of the law enforcement officer starts to decline for no reason. This could mean making procedural mistakes, putting civilians at risk unnecessarily or failing to do basic things like respond to calls. These changes in performance are dangerous and could be related to drug abuse.
If you know a law enforcement officer who might have a drug addiction, then you should get that person help right away. The officer is creating a dangerous situation that is putting everyone from fellow officers to civilians at risk. You should work to get the officer to an inpatient treatment center as soon as possible.