Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Why do drug addicts develop skin abrasions?

It is one of the tell-tale signs of a drug addict, the facial sores and lesions. Is it caused by the drug addict’s constant scratching at imaginary facial imperfections? Is it poor hygiene on the part of the abuser?

State Police out of Wolcott reported stopping a vehicle for Speeding on Lake Bluff Road in Wolcott at 1:58 a.m. on Thursday (8/7).

The driver, Katherine L. Finch, age 29, of 9822 Glenmark Road in North Rose was subsequently arrested for DWI-Drugs/Refusal to Submit to a Blood test, Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument and Criminal possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree-cocaine. She was additionally charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor vehicle with three license suspensions on three different dates.

Police found Finch in what they felt was a drug-induced state. Her appearance also lent itself to a possible long-term drug habit.

Finch’s face was  riddled with sores;  her arms showed the trench marks of  numerous past needle use. She was arraigned on the charges and remanded to jail on $250 cash bail.

So, what causes the sores that appear on many drug addicts?

According to Wayne County Supervisor of Substance Abuse, Chris Thomas, the Mental Health Department staff  see quite a bit of the skin lesions on drug addicts they serve. He attributes many of the bodily appearances to drug manufacturers and dealers who “didn’t pass chemistry class” and mix or use solvents in their formulas. He added that the condition is prevalent in many methamphetamine users. It occurs when the body is trying to purify itself of the toxins building up inside. The addict only worsens the effect of the toxins by scratching, or picking at the sores.

Thomas said he has also seen the condition in young kids using/abusing the drug Ritalin. The recent K-2 fad of synthetic marijuana and other “designer” drugs has also led to psychotic incidents of “picking” at the skin.

Basically, the Substance Abuse Supervisor said the sores are the total  result of a lifestyle of drugs, poor hygiene and bad needles.

The drug-induced sores condition does not happen overnight and arrest pictures over a period of time can also show a dramatic decline in facial muscles and the appearance of aging within a number of years and in some cases, months. The wearing away of tooth enamel, scaring, sores and unkempt appearances are all signs of a drug problem.

Want help? A place to start? For more information on drug counseling Call the Wayne County Mental Health at 946-5722.