4. Follow the Money

This rule is as true when it comes to drug addiction as it is with as many other types of shady dealings.

The supply of drugs and alcohol is completely fueled by money. When a person becomes a heavy drinker or drug user, there are going to be financial effects. Money is going to be missing. As addiction increases, this could be lots of money, even thousands of dollars a week.

Addicts very commonly become unable to maintain steady employment, meaning that the supply of money will dry up. When income dries up, a drinker or drug user will first sell off personal valuables and then will usually steal from family and friends. Many become desperate enough to turn to crime to pay for the drug habit. Shoplifting, identity theft, car theft, pharmacy robberies, muggings, prostitution and of course drug dealing keep the habit financed.

If you see dramatic, unexplained changes in financial conditions—either disappearing money or too much money or new, valuable possessions on hand—consider the possibility of drug addiction and related crime.

How to do it wrong: A young man is away at college and calls frequently for more money. The family questions him about why he needs so much more money but he always has a story ready, always something different. Books prices are higher, his car needed a big repair or his rent went up. It seems like there is $1000 more needed every month. Since his stories always sound plausible, the family just sends more money, figuring they must have planned wrong when they sent him to college.

How to do it right: Three months in a row, the young man calls for more money, always with a plausible story. The third month, they send part of the money asked for then plan a fast trip to the college campus to see for themselves. On arrival, they can see that their son has lost weight and has sores on his face. Their money has been going to heroin. They can now address the heroin addiction.

NEXT: 5. Protect Your Valuables

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