At this point, I was starting to see that my husband was spiraling out of control. It was happening so quickly, though, and was so unexpected and out of character for him, that I was still in denial.

Here are some of the warning signs for opioid abuse, or Gray Death, which is a mixture of synthetic opioids.

  1. Poor work performance or unexplained absences

Obviously, this is a warning sign I should have seen in Jimmy’s case. He had always been a workaholic, and it was very out of character for him to miss so much work. At first, he couldn’t help it because he was injured, but it was obvious after a few days that he was choosing to stay home. Addicts tend to drop things they are passionate about or their daily routine, and Gray Death can make people unmotivated, lethargic, and unable to care about anything but the drug.

  1. Changing sleep patterns

Usually, this manifests as over-sleeping or sleeping at odd times. Jimmy falling asleep while watching Emerson was a very scary sign of his addiction. Jimmy was taking lots of long naps and generally had low energy, whereas before his accident he had been vibrant and slept on a regular schedule.

  1. Isolation and increased need for privacy

When addicts are using, they will tend to push others away (unless they are fellow addicts) so they will not get caught. I noticed Jimmy spending long periods of time in the bathroom, and I even caught him running the shower to cover the noise of him talking on the phone to somebody in the bathroom. I later found out it was the dealer who was supplying him the Gray Death.

These are just a few of the obvious warning signs that someone you love maybe uses the Gray Death. Any huge changes in their habits or personality are warning signs. It is always worth bringing up to your loved one in a non-confrontational way if you suspect drug abuse. You will not regret talking about it, but you may regret not bringing it up.

I know I did.