Upscale Down Town Large City Parking Structure Onsite Auto Detailing and Car Washing

Over the years I’ve had mobile car washing and auto detailing companies ask me about working in large Metro Area parking structures, offering services to company employees in the building. Sometimes folks contact me about setting up services at Airport Park and Fly’s. The other day someone asked about a 1,000 parking space parking garage in the high-rent district. Okay so, let’s say you were putting together a business plan for something like this – how many car owners are really going to be interested in your services? Let’s talk.

It has been my experience that you get 15% peak at the 6th week point providing the quality is “excellent” in the first-fifth week. The first week expect perhaps 5-7%. Now then, generally if you offer 5-day week service you get the most business on Thurs-Fri for weekend, so at first the Monday-Tuesday business might be dismal. These numbers “assume” that you have pre-announced advanced notification, flyers, faxes, or notification from the property manager of a new service which everyone considers trying. You should get 8% of the people getting weekly washes after that 6th week, and the rest getting add-on services for the total of that 15%.

Now then, the people’s cars will still be clean from the original 1-2 weeks, so the second and third week, expect slow growth, less than the first two week, but things then progress. Some folks choose not to use the service regularly because of cost, or kids at home washing cars, DIY crowd; by week six you should peak or plateau at 75% of your future maximum future volume as you slowly win over folks who budget you as a fixed expense.

What about pricing?

Okay so, with all this said unless your buildings contain high-end clientele and is in the downtown financial district – lawyers and other financial type businesses – then your price should be fair and honorable for the middle class. Remember most of your customers will become – if you do this right – weekly executive in-and-out washes at let’s say $15-25 each. Then once per month quick express wax at $40-50. Then, every other month max detail $100+.

You should not forgo the single-mom secretary with the beginner entry point BMW, she’s your very best word of mouth, don’t price her out of the market! Or give her a “free exterior only” wash with tire-dressing if there are 5-or more per office that sign up.

Let’s say you are working with luxury buildings, not condos, I am taking about luxury office buildings with enormous parking structures; if this is a mega-high-end crowd it’s okay to keep your higher price points perhaps one-third or half again more, those higher prices might survive, although I am sketchy on that, economically speaking in the present period. You can always bundle extras rather than lowering price, and you can always bump the prices up a few more dollars once you prove yourself.

What if a property company has 10 or more buildings?

This is common in downtown districts as one company is in charge of many, many, buildings and parking structures. They want amenity type services in all of them. Still, don’t take all the buildings at once, work into it, over committing might be unwise, labor constraints issues, and customer service managers, very challenging working in such a controlled chaotic environment – at first, that is. You’ll get used to it. You have to get it right the first time or your reputation will be trashed for a long while, you could lose 10s of 1,000s of dollars in sales the first six months trying to overcome a poor start.

Indeed, I hope I’ve at least answered some of the questions you might have. Still, please remember all this advice are merely my preliminary thoughts, but I’ve been asked about this now so many times that I thought I’d just put it into an article to save my time in the future. Every circumstance is different, and to do this topic justice I’d really, really need more details on this to better accurately guestimate for each potential circumstance. Please consider all this and think on it.

Three SEO Strategies That High Ranking Websites Always Follow

Great people do not do different things. They do the same things differently. Well, this phrase is equally applicable to create websites as well. The basics of search engine optimization and social media integration are the same for everybody. The attitude and approach adopted by the webmasters makes all the difference. Let us look at some important differences between popular websites and those websites that fail to make an impression on search engines.

Always Changing, Improving And Evolving

Search engine optimization is a frustrating task primarily because it is always changing. In the beginning, stuffing the webpage with keywords was enough to improve your rankings. Then, Google started penalizing keyword spam and created the distinction between White Hat and other SEO techniques. The latest update by Google penalizes poor quality content. Judging the quality of content of your site through an algorithm may sound impossible. However, Google is making use of algorithms to weed out those websites that offer rehashed content without offering anything new.

Great sites never relax as far as search engine opposition is concerned. They never conclude that they have identified the golden formula and that they need not bother about SEO ever again. They are eager to identify newer solutions and want to find out how such solutions can help them improve rankings. If you want a one-time ticket to online popularity, then you will have to face many disappointing failures. Remaining popular on the Internet requires constant adaptation.

Search Engines Are Secondary. People Come First

This may sound sacrilegious to some SEO experts. To cater to people without bothering about search engines can lead to disastrous consequences. What is the point of setting up a website with high quality content if surfers cannot find it? Well, great websites believe that it is impossible to suppress good content online. If your content is good, then you will automatically become popular even if you are not focusing on search engine optimization.

Of course, this does not mean you should completely ignore optimization. However, your readers and viewers should be preferred over stats about your traffic. Keep your readers happy and they will spread word about your website without being asked to do so. Getting 100,000 web surfers to talk about your website is a lot simpler if you simply provide high-quality content.

Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive SEO strategists, you can adopt this simple approach and extract more value out of your investment.

Never Be In A Hurry For Results

Despite the release of panda and penguin updates by Google, it is possible to manipulate search engines and improve your rankings. However, such a short-term approach is only going to lead to complications. For starters, you can never be certain that your popularity is sustainable. If you focus on the long-term, then you will automatically make use of White Hat SEO techniques that focus on adding value at all times.

Make sure you follow these strategies. The best option is to employ an SEO expert who understands the importance of such an approach. This will help you focus on offering better quality products and services to your customers without worrying about the popularity of your website.

Europe – The Best Way to Explore Your Destinations

Our main modes of transportation consisted of the Eurorail, TGV, Metro and walking. But, as with every other aspect of trip planning, it is important to research because there are numerous options available.

There is the choice of whether to get first or second class train tickets; there really is a difference between the two although in the end, they both get you to where you want to go. With first class the seats are very comfortable, there is leg room and ample space for luggage, as well as drinks are offered by passing porters. We chose this option because of the length of time we would be spending on Eurorail while travelling through three different countries.

However, from Paris to Switzerland, we chose the TGV train system which travels at 320 km hour and often faster. This cut our train travel for this leg of our journey from over six hours to about three hours. We chose not to make reservations which would have been an additional cost, deciding to take our chances on not having to wait. Because we left early for the train station, and because the trains leave hourly, we were fortunate in not having a long wait time.

While in Switzerland we were able to use our Eurorail pass. If we had not had this pass, we would’ve had to purchase Swiss passes for transportation while in Switzerland. Our Eurorail pass also gave us passage on the ferries in both Lucerne and Interlacken as well as the cogwheel trains we took up Rigi Kulm Mountain and Jungfrauloch Mountain in Switzerland.

When we purchased our rail passes, based on the fact that we would be travelling to three countries, we got the three country, seven day pass which was ideal for our requirements although as it turned out, the two country pass would’ve been sufficient since the TGV had to be purchased separately. The cost of the pass is determined by the number of countries you visit and the number of days you are using your pass. Purchasing Eurorail passes outside of Europe is cheaper. The open tour bus in Rome was an additional cost. When we were travelling by train, we had to be aware of what the station before our stop was so we could get our luggage and be ready to leave the train when it came into the station.

While in Paris and Rome, we used the Metro system of transportation or by walking to our destinations. Both Metro systems were quite easy to use and in Paris in particular, almost every station had people available to answer questions. Also in Paris, the route you needed to take to get to the train level you wanted, was very clearly marked on the walls at each fork. While in Rome we only used their Metro system one day and had clear instructions on which line we needed to take and the station we had to get off. In both Paris and Rome Metro systems, the next station is shown overhead on a flashing sign so you are given ample warning.

The only taxi we took while in Europe was to the airport to catch our flights home. We could have taken a shuttle or bus to the train station which, between connections, would have taken several hours. For an early morning flight, and with the difficulty of having luggage to worry about, the cost of a taxi was well worth the extra money spent.

Before travelling, make sure to research, plan and organize so that things will go as smoothly as possible and time isn’t wasted trying to get information when that time could be spent travelling and getting to your point of destination more quickly. This is especially true when your travel time is limited as ours was – three countries, eight cities and other specific areas in just two weeks.

Cruises Are a Great Option for Your Honeymoon

Cruises are actually a wonderful place to take a honeymoon. There are several reasons that they are great for this event in your life.

One of the great things about cruises is that they are almost all-inclusive. You can order room service anytime, you can order and eat as much as you desire at meal times. However, alcoholic beverages may or may not be included. You have access to pools, spas, and other amenities. The ship will take you to the shore, and you then have the freedom to explore and take excursions. If you do not want to spend any extra, you do not have to do so. Excursions cost, but you could choose to just enjoy the boat’s amenities that are included.

People may figure that cruises will cost a large amount. It is true that they can be costly, but for what you get they are well worth it. If you watch for specials, you may be able to get a good price. One thing to remember with cost is that your airline flight is not likely included. That is really the only transportation cost you will have unless you need to pay for a shuttle from the airports.

As you think about cost, try not to get overwhelmed. Just break it down. If you decide you want to go on a cruise, start having 20 dollars put in your savings account every week. By doing this, you should be able to pay for your honeymoon within four or five year’s time. The amount you save may actually exceed what you need. If you do not have five years before you are getting married, break it down in a different way. If you need to put it on credit, then you will know that you should be able to pay it off in less than seven years if you include the interest. To lucky ones, your honeymoon might be given as a wedding gift, and in these cases, you will not have to pay for anything except the extras.

There is a downside to many things, and that is the case with cruises as well. If you are prone to getting seasick or motion sick, then you might have a problem going on a cruise. If you believe you might have a problem, see your doctor. He or she should be able to provide you with something to help or a suggestion for something over-the-counter. You may or may not struggle if you get medication. There is a doctor on the ships, so if you end up having a major problem, they should be able to help.

Do not let a fear of cost or seasickness keep you from considering cruises as an option for your honeymoon. Sit down with the one you love, if you know them yet, and talk about it. If you have not yet met someone, maybe now is the time to start saving for the future.

Travel and Leisure Article Category

Many people like to stay in shape throughout the year. It may seem like it is easier to exercise in warmer months, but actually there are a number of fitness activities that you can participate in during the winter as well. Here are a few things you may want to consider the next time you are looking for a fun fitness activity.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing is a popular choice for a winter activity. This has been noted as one of the very best winter workouts. The reason is that it takes the entire body to maneuver through the snow in skis thus essentially creating a full body work-out. Also, because there are significant challenges to balance yourself as your ski, you are also using your muscles to ensure that you stay upright.

Hiking

Hiking is another great fitness activity that many people may categorize as only a possibility in the warmer season. This is simply not true. Hiking can be done in colder months, but special precautions should be taken such as dressing appropriately and packing plenty of food and water. Hiking is a great way to burn fat, stretch your limbs, and maintain your stamina during the winter. This is a great calorie burner while enjoying the great outdoors.

Tobogganing

Tobogganing is such a fun activity you may have never considered how it is actually a workout to do it. You basically ride on a sled down a slope hill and then repeat until you can’t stand any more fun. In this activity you have to work to balance yourself on the sled which does take some muscle usage and when you drag the sled back up the hill you slid down you are burning calories.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a terrific way to keep in shape during the winter. This workout increases cardiovascular activity and can easily burn between 300-450 calories as you glide over the ice. You can increase you speed and burn more calories or simply glide along peacefully, the choice is yours. Who knew that doing something so fun could be exercise, too!

Snowball fights

Speaking of fun work outs, snow ball fights are definitely another option for exercise. You will automatically get a workout by running, ducking, and throwing that you won’t even realize because you will be having such a great time. There are many things your body will be doing as you twist and turn to avoid those snow balls. The best kind of workout is the kind that doesn’t seem like one!

There are a number of ways to stay fit during the summer that doesn’t require a boring workout routine. You can simply participate in one of the activities listed or even create your own way of having fun. Anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart racing is definitely a workout. Winter doesn’t have to be a time that you pack on some extra pounds, instead you can find a fitness activity that suits you and stay in shape all year around.

Ceramic Headers Are A Sound Performance Choice

The first step is getting more power out of your car is freeing up your system’s exhaust tract. In terms of aftermarket upgrades, this is the path the majority of tuners take. Remember that the internal combustion engine is basically a pump, and the more gases you can flow through cannot but improve performance. When it comes to modifying your exhaust, your choices will be dictated by its intended use. For example, your ride does primary duty as a daily driver. In that case, state laws may limit you to a catback exhaust. Sometimes, the option may be open for you to replace your exhaust pipes and cats too, from the exhaust manifold collector down to the muffler itself.

But for complete freedom in modifying your exhaust, your engine and the rest of your car, it would be best to have a track car registered as such, and you can then replace components to what your budget will allow. One exhaust system component that has been the subject of discussion in recent years is ceramic-coated headers. Ceramic headers offer the dual benefits of lowering engine compartment temperature by keeping the heat metal tubes would otherwise radiate. But by keeping the exhaust heat within the tubes, exhaust gas scavenging is improved. Which is a fancy way of saying that gas flow is increased, thereby benefiting engine performance. Making a blanket prediction on how much performance can be gained with ceramic coatings can be tricky though, because a lot of variables in the rest of the exhaust system have to be taken into account.

Note that so-called ceramic headers are actually steel-pipe headers with a ceramic coating on them. They can be less expensive than stainless steel headers because manufacturers can use mild steel for forming the headers and then coat them with the ceramic material. So, in performance terms, ceramic headers can be better than popular stainless steel headers because of cost and performance factors. Stainless steel though wins in terms of durability but not cost. Aesthetically, gearheads who go for bling will choose the look of stainless.

Bear in mind that as you extract more horsepower from your car’s engine, heat will become a major factor. In this regard, ceramic headers will be a better choice because they will keep underhood temperatures down. They may not look as fancy as stainless steel headers, but if they contribute to a more powerful and reliable engine, what is the better choice?

What Is the Drug, Bath Salts?

Marketed under various names, including, “Bath Salts”, “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss”, the drug, MDPV has been the cause of numerous emergency room visits and thousands of calls to the Centers for Disease Control and Poison Control Centers over the last couple of years.

Bath Salts is actually a powerful stimulant that also has hallucinogenic properties. A relatively new psychotropic drug, it reportedly creates effects similar to other stimulants such as wakefulness, rapid heartbeat, reduction in appetite and anxiety.

However, this substance causes other, more worrisome and dangerous effects such as psychotic delusions, thoughts of suicide and violent behavior.

Are they really for the bath tub?

No, they’re not. They are labelled that way to avoid legal restrictions. Each packet is even clearly marked with, “Not For Human Consumption”, making it difficult to classify them as drugs. But the real purpose is definitely substance abuse. These packets contain various drugs, including the compound 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone). A dangerous designer drug, MDPV is popular with teens and some in the military because it doesn’t show on drug tests.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, between November 2010 and April 2011 in one county in Michigan, 35 persons who had ingested, inhaled, or injected “bath salts” visited a Michigan emergency department. Among the 35 patients, the most com­mon signs and symptoms of toxicity were agitation (23 patients [66%]), tachycardia (22 [63%]), and delusions/hallucinations (14 [40%]). Seventeen patients were hospitalized, and one was dead upon arrival at the ED.

So how can a product as apparently dangerous as this be sold legally to the public?

Any product sold in the United States that is classified as a drug must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is then classified according to criteria such as likelihood of abuse, it’s addictive potentials or any possible medicinal value. Then it can be sorted into one of several categories.

When a substance does not pass review along these guidelines, they are classified in the Schedule One category. These substances are not legal for any purpose.

But what if it’s NOT a drug? What if it is only an additive for the bath tub? Now special legislation is needed to outlaw it. This is the case with several of these new substances of abuse, bath salts is only one. Another is called “Spice”. Also known as K-2, spice is a drug that is labelled as incense in order to bypass legal requirements of a drug.

Many states have passed emergency legislation to outlaw these specific chemicals, but the makers just alter the compounds slightly, just enough to again slip through the legal nets.

Our best bet in the fight against these tactics is simply this, make the public aware of the dangers and very real consequences of using these chemicals. If enough truth about bath salts and spice or whatever comes next is pumped into the environment, repeatedly, we’ll see this latest and nearly craziest drug fad fade away and become a joke like “smoking banana peels” became back in the ’60s..

Shakespeare on Addiction: Sonnet 129

Something interesting happens every time I teach Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129. I’m reasonably certain the term “sex addiction” didn’t exist in his day – and neither did 12 step groups for it, with Elizabethans turning up in their flamboyant garb – but that doesn’t mean that the problem, and its attendant degradations, didn’t exist. Just ask Shakespeare about his Dark Lady.***

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Why am I thinking about sonnet 129? Shakespeare’s sonnets beg for interpretation, and it’s not just because they are formal masterpieces that we should, as intelligent folk, feel compelled to dissect for dissection’s sake. No, there’s more to them than that. His sonnets are relevant today and I’m going to show you why.

A few years ago, I came across an hour long documentary made about Vancouver’s notorious downtown eastside. The area has been ravaged by an influx of drugs and its victims, earning it a reputation for being something of an elephants’ graveyard: it’s where addicts go to die. The film was called Through a Blue Lens and was shot, mostly, by two beat cops who wanted to portray the lives of the addicts living there. It’s not a warm and fuzzy film about drug addiction, but it’s not condemnatory either. Here’s an excerpt:

The plight of those living in that part of Vancouver became a minor cause célèbre in 1999, in part because The Globe and Mail published a photo essay of its denizens that left a lot of Canadians gasping. It made us aware, in a none-too-gentle way, that we had inner city problems just as bad as some cities south of the border. Vancouver’s port is a gateway for the drug trade and it seems at least some of these drugs don’t travel far: they form the lifeblood of those immiserated souls living in the downtown area.

So why look at Canada’s Skid Row when we’re talking about Shakespeare? It’s because his definition of addiction is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s relevant today and that’s because when addicts talk about their suffering, they report (albeit less eloquently) many of the same things. And when I say things, I mean they report having many of the same feelings and experiences described by Shakespeare. Those haunting sounds of agony — the addict’s anguish — are distilled, painfully and thoroughly, in this poem.

It begins:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Shakespeare believes we forfeit our spirit – our soul – when we engage in addictive behaviour. The expense, or the price of the addiction, is paid with it. Waste here is used literally (implying that lives are wasted by addiction) and also symbolically to denote a place. This double meaning is made obvious by the use of the preposition in, as “in” a waste of shame. Waste as a place bookends neatly with that other inferno, hell, mentioned in the closing couplet.

Lust is Shakespeare’s drug of choice and the belief is that it was aimed at the infamous Dark Lady, that promiscuous creature that had Shakespeare, and others, utterly intoxicated.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust

What are the signs of Shakespeare’s enslavement? The form of a sonnet is strictly prescribed: it is made up of three quatrains — three groups of four lines — and a closing couplet. The rhyme scheme tends to alternate lines, meaning the first line rhymes with the third, the second with the fourth, etc. The lines are usually made up of phrases that go towards forming sentences. However, in this quatrain, the last half is simply a list of adjectives or adjective phrases, enumerating Shakespeare’s agonies. And these agonies are stated strongly, with words like murderous, bloody, savage and extreme.

This is a man in the throes of an obsession, an obsession that won’t even allow him to form coherent thoughts; instead he spits out a list of adjectives to convey his feelings. Shakespeare the wordsmith created this list for a reason. It’s there to denote a burst of feeling that can’t be contained.

But does this fury of Shakespeare’s capture the state of those sad and emaciated souls wandering the downtown eastside? I would argue it does and the key word here is shame. Ask any active addict how they feel about their life and you are bound to discover, underneath the anger and street braggadocio, a deep and murky well of it. That shame is what keeps them using; it’s what keeps them from wanting to feel.

After Shakespeare establishes his narrative voice, he turns to the cyclical nature of his malady. In the second quatrain, he states:

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Here we see the structural and thematic rendering of the cycle of addiction. Let me translate: the addict no sooner enjoys (uses) her drug when she starts to despise its consequences straight (right away). However, beyond all reason she continues to hunt for it, and again, as soon as she consumes it, she hates it beyond all reason because she can’t stop. Then Shakespeare expands the subtle animal imagery and lays blame on suppliers and enablers. Her drug is like a trap laid on purpose and it makes her, the taker, mad. Mad here is being used in the British sense of the word, meaning insane.

It’s usually at this point in my class that I stop and ask students to think of an activity, any activity, they do to excess. Do they spend too much time online? Eat too much of the wrong kind of food? Text incessantly? And it’s also here that I tell them my own little story of addiction, the one that had me frequently rushing to the neighbourhood corner store, in Toronto, when I was a student.

I had an addiction and it was to Swedish Berries, those soft red candies that taste heavenly but are of no nutritional value whatever. These darlings came in handy at midnight when I had an essay to finish and needed a sugar boost. However, the problem was that I didn’t know when to stop. The store sold them in bulk and I didn’t have the discipline to buy only a few. My reasoning, as I stood in front of that bin and ladled in scoop after scoop, was that I would save some for later.

Right.

So I would eat them until I felt sick and this process, over the last two years of my undergrad degree, repeated itself more times than I care to remember. But it was the sequence of events in this process that was important. I would come to the realization it was late. I knew I had to keep working but didn’t want coffee. Then I would think: Hey! Swedish Berries! Great idea! And I would haul myself off to the store, come back and eat way too many of them. Only afterwards would I say to myself: “Did I really have to scarf down that whole bag?” Or: “Good idea? What was I thinking?”

So too goes the cycle of addiction: there is the chase, the consummation and the aftermath. In other words, the anticipation, the imbibing and the remorse. This cycle will be expanded upon in the next quatrain.

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

The first quatrain establishes, through the use of enumeration, Shakespeare’s lo
ss of control. The second establishes the cyclical nature of his addiction. This last is significant because it does not provide new information. However, it does repeat the three part cycle and repetition in Shakespeare is always significant: he uses it to let us know we need to pay attention. Here we are told, again and with more emphasis, that an addict is mad while chasing the drug and mad while consuming it. And of course it is that madness — that inability to reason — that starts the cycle all over again.

But take a look at the second line. Shakespeare reverses the order of the cycle: he starts with the aftermath: had, moves to the consummation: having, and then moves to the first stage of the cycle, the chase: in quest to have. He does this to create the impression of a back-and-forth motion: the addict moves forward and backward, forward and backward, ad infinitum. Why? Because that’s what happens when one becomes addicted: life stalls.

At the start of this article, I said something interesting happens every time I teach this sonnet. Here it is: after I read it out loud, I tell my students to look closely at the panhandlers, especially the young ones, when they pass through the Atwater metro, the metro that services Dawson. I almost always get the same reaction: the class goes silent, the flow of air in the room stops, and these young people, with their futures ahead of them, pay closer attention. This suffering, rendered so poetically by Shakespeare, is only steps away.

And it happens elsewhere. When I drive home, I stop at a busy intersection leading onto the highway. That’s where I often see a young woman, her blonde hair in dreadlocks, holding up a sign asking for spare change. I always give her some and now she knows to come to me. If the traffic light permits, we may even exchange a few words.

I’ve been criticized for doing this — “she’ll just spend the money on drugs” is what I hear — but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how we can stop people from “committing suicide on the installment plan,” as a good friend of mine puts it.

Shakespeare didn’t know either, but luckily for us, that didn’t stop him from looking deeply into that darkness and writing about it anyway.

***I will be, for the sake of brevity and compression, be referring to the narrator as Shakespeare.

How To Spot Cocaine Addiction

There is no definitive way to spot if someone you know has an addiction to cocaine, but if you suspect that this may be the case, then there are some signs that you should be looking out for. Some are easier to spot than others.

If the individual in question seems to be getting a lot of nosebleeds, and this was never the case previously, then this should be a cause for concern. Nosebleeds are one of the classic signs that a person is using large amounts of cocaine on a regular basis, as the drug will begin to damage or even destroy the lining of the nasal passages. A runny or blocked nose can also occur with regular use of cocaine, and may actually present as symptoms before the nosebleeds begin.

The person in question may be undergoing a dramatic change in personality, losing interest in people that they would previously have seen on a regular basis, and giving up on activities that they used to enjoy. Cocaine has become the most important thing in the life of the addict, replacing everything else.

A common feature of people addicted to cocaine, and sometimes other drugs as well, is that they will stop going to work, school or college, and may end up losing their job if the situation becomes too bad. Linked to this may be financial problems, which are bound to become worse if they do lose their job. An addict will think nothing of spending all the money they have to obtain more cocaine, which may not be immediately obvious. However, if you notice that they are looking to borrow money or sell their possessions, then this should be a very big cause for concern.

Changes in mood can also be a sign of cocaine use and addiction. When cocaine has been taken recently, a person will tend to be extremely happy and talkative, chatting regardless of whether anybody is paying attention or not. This is known as a cocaine high, and can last anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes. Once the feeling of being high has worn off, the cocaine user will feel short of energy, possibly depressed, and a lack of mental clarity may set in. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take some more cocaine, and it will be apparent that this is the case if the person disappears to find some privacy. If cocaine has been used over a long period of time, in large amounts, then it is likely that the person will sleep excessively for several days.

If excessive amounts of cocaine have been used over an extended period of time, then it is possible that paranoia can begin to set in. Sometimes, panic attacks can occur, with symptoms of chest pains and heavy sweating. A normal social setting may also cause feelings of anxiety.

Another sign that may indicate a drug addiction, whether cocaine or something else, is if the person has largely replaced all of their friends with new people that you have not met before. This is because a drug addict will begin to spend time with other drug addicts, who will not ask questions or try to prevent drugs from being used. When a friend begins to take drugs and forms an addiction, this is always going to be a difficult situation.

If cocaine is used for a long period of time, then you will start to notice physical differences in the person. One of the most obvious will be weight loss. Cocaine reduces the appetite dramatically, so as the drug use increases, the amount of food being eaten will drop rapidly. Weight loss is a classic symptom of cocaine use and abuse.

Tips to Conduct an Effective Drug Testing Program

The main purpose of conducting a drug testing program is to ensure that the dangerous habit of drug abuse is completely eliminated among the people. But to achieve the desired positive results, the program should be effective. And for effective implementation of this program, there are certain aspects to be taken care of. Here are a few tips that enable effective implementation of the program.

Explain the importance:

Teachers, parents, employers or any other personnel conducting the drug testing program should make it clear to the suspects that the purpose of the program is to ensure better and healthy living of the individual. It is their duty to explain the benefits of detecting and preventing the drug abusing habit. By doing so, the individuals will be encouraged to take the test without any inhibitions.

Determine the best method:

Drug testing methods are classified into different types depending on the sample used – hair, saliva, urine and blood. Of these methods, choose a method that is convenient. The convenience of the test should be judged in terms of ease of conducting and effectiveness in giving reliable results.

Be aware of drug detection windows:

Knowing drug detection windows is important for effective implementation of the program because, the drug detection periods vary from sample to sample and from drug to drug. For example, in case of amphetamines the drug detection period is 1 to 3 days in urine, 24 hours in blood, 90 days in hair and 0-24 hours in saliva.

Implement preventive methods to avoid sample alteration:

There is a probability that the suspects adulterate or manipulate (alter) test samples. Hence, make sure that the testing area/room does not contain any kind of materials/solvents which can be used to adulterate the test sample. It is also important that while collecting test samples, the donors should be monitored.

Use reliable test kits:

The effectiveness of the program is also dependent on the effectiveness of the equipment. Since testing at schools or workplaces requires on-site testing tools, drug test kits are recommended. These kits can also be used for home drug testing as they ensure privacy of results. These kits are cost effective, fast, safe, accurate and reliable. They are of different types based on the specimen used (saliva, urine, hair, etc.) and the design of kits (cups or strips). FDA approved kits give accurate results as they abide by the SAMHSA cut-off levels.

An effectively implemented drug testing program not only fetches accurate results but also plays a vital role in eliminating the habit of drug abuse.