A woman from Florida made it all the way up the coast to Worcestor, MA, after she allegedly fled the Sunshine State on fraud and drug charges. Paula Jo Rutty was brought back to Duval County where she is wanted for violation of two felony warrants: burglary of a structure/conveyance and fraudulent use of a credit card and possession of a controlled substance. Rutty will be extradited back to Florida to stand trial for her charges.
Rutty’s case has yet to be decided, but many in Florida are in a similar situation: waiting to face a judge and find out whether or not they will suffer serious consequences due to drug-related charges.
For many Florida residents, being charged with a drug-related crime is a wakeup call that they are struggling with a substance use disorder that requires treatment. The response may be to follow through, go before the judge as required, and then fulfill the sentence, whatever it may be, or it may be to flee.
In fact, long before arrest occurs, many people have the impetus to run when they are faced with the negative consequences of drug use and abuse. In the moment, the fear of the possibility of being forced to stop using drugs and alcohol is far greater than the uncertainty of being on the run. Ultimately, however, continuing substance use and abuse under any circumstances will likely lead back to legal problems in addition to health issues, family difficulties, financial ruin, and more.
Are you on the run from your substance abuse problems?
Signs of a Substance Use Disorder
The fact is that substance use disorders occur on a spectrum. There is no single set of symptoms that indicate a problem that requires treatment that apply for all people. Everyone is unique, with a different physical and chemical makeup, emotional experiences, and genetics. When combined with different substances of abuse in different amounts, combinations, and frequencies, the results will vary.
For some, substance use can be mildly intrusive, binge sessions with hangovers that bleed over into the workweek, causing problems with a spouse, on the job, or financially – all issues that are negative but not necessarily overwhelming and perhaps only something that the individual is aware of.
For others, the consequences are more difficult to ignore. They may go through a breakup or divorce due to ongoing issues with drugs and alcohol or choices made under the influence. They may be fired or threatened with layoff due to job performance issues. They may be struggling with health problems caused or exacerbated by drug use. These issues are often obvious to those who are close to the individual and less obvious to others.
And for still others, the substance use disorder may be so serious that it is obvious to them and everyone around them. Maintaining employment is impossible. Health problems are severe. Relationships are broken and unhealthy. The person may do little but get high or drink and seek out more substances.
The fact is that there is a wide range of issues that can indicate a substance use disorder. Generally speaking, if you are struggling with any of the following, then treatment is the next step:
- Relationship problems with friends, spouse, children, and extended family
- Problems functioning at work, with coworkers, or your boss – or the inability to get employment or stay employed
- Great financial loss due to abuse of drugs and alcohol
- Health issues caused by chronic drug use and/or acute health problems, including overdose or other medical emergency due to heavy use
- Engaging in criminal behaviors in an effort to maintain an ongoing supply of drugs or alcohol
Treatment That Is Right for You
Just as substance use disorders occur on a spectrum, treatment programs and services available to help people manage symptoms exist on a spectrum as well. That is, you can attend one or two therapy sessions or support groups per week for milder difficulties in managing substance use, opt for a heftier outpatient treatment schedule, choose an intensive outpatient program, or enroll in residential treatment to undergo medical detox and therapeutic intervention. The choice is one that should be made in concert with your therapeutic team and based on your unique experience and needs.