Drug abuse is rising with each passing year, and the World Drug Report estimates that between 15.5 million – 38.6 million people worldwide are drug dependent and/or addicted as of 2010. In the United States, the drug abuse epidemic is particularly alarming with a rapid increase of narcotic opioid prescription medications to which an estimated 13% of Americans are prescribed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Drug abuse is defined as the maltreatment or excessive use of a substance, and with drugs of all kinds, abuse is very dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Any substance can be abused, whether illicit, over-the-counter, or by prescription. Some of the most dangerous drugs of abuse are the very medications prescribed by doctors to improve the quality of life for millions of people, and there is no limit to the amount of damage and destruction created by individuals who develop an addiction as a result of their drug abuse.
When an individual abuses drugs, he or she is often doing so with the intention of producing effects beyond any medical justification. There are certain signs and symptoms of drug abuse that can be applied to any individual, depending on the type of drug he or she is abusing.
|Sign||Alcohol||OTC Drugs||Prescription Drugs||Illicit Drugs|
|Frequently appearing intoxicated from use of drug||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Using more of the drug than necessary or socially acceptable||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Going through supply of the drug quickly and attempting to get more right away||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Doctor or pharmacy shopping to get more of a drug||–||✔||✔||–|
|Increasingly frequent justifications for needing more of a drug||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Financial and/or legal troubles resulting from drug use||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Attempting to hide the extent of drug use from others||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Becoming irate or agitated when confronted about drug use||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Most of these signs are universal across all types of drugs and how they are acquired, and most all drug abuse eventually leads to addiction if drastic changes are not made to either control or cease drug(s) use.
Drugs of Abuse
The number of drugs available for abuse is on the increase with the burgeoning market of prescription painkillers, sleep aids, and psychotic medications to treat mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and various personality disorders. In addition to illicit drugs of abuse and alcohol, both of which are extremely addictive and dangerous, the various strengths of OTC medications and prescription drugs are widely abused and contributing to a culture of drug abuse across all demographics.
Illicit meth is highly addictive, and even after massive efforts by law enforcement to crack down on clandestine meth labs across the United States, meth abuse and addiction continue to devastate the lives of millions of people every year doing extraordinary damage to the brain and body of those who abuse this toxic and deadly drug. Read more about meth abuse…
Cocaine and Crack Abuse
Cocaine and its freebase form, crack, both provide an extremely short and intense high that calls users back more frequently than any other drug. Those who abuse cocaine and/or crack are constantly at risk for serious health, legal, and financial consequences as a result of their drug abuse. No more or less dangerous and addictive than any other drug, cocaine and crack abuse are still widespread and a major societal concern. Read more about cocaine and crack abuse…
Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Prescription painkiller abuse has been on a steady incline for the past decade with more people across every demographic having more access to these powerful and addictive drugs. Some of these painkillers are:
Prescription painkillers are addictive and all have the same actions on the brain of a user. When these drugs are abused, the risk of addiction is extremely high, and with it comes a life of slavery to these drugs resulting from the psychological and physical dependence they produce. Read more about painkiller abuse…
The most common drug of abuse is alcohol, and this is mostly attributed to the fact that alcohol is legal above the drinking age of 21, and socially acceptable. Commonly misconceived as not being a drug, alcohol is among the most poisonous of all drugs, and millions who are at risk for developing alcoholism regularly abuse it. Read more about alcohol abuse…
Benzodiazepines are prescription sedatives that are used for a variety of conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, pre-operative sedation, and seizures. Commonly abused benzodiazepines include:
Benzodiazepines vary in strengths and length of action on the GABA system in the brain, and they are categorized as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When used with other depressants like alcohol and opioids/opiates, benzodiazepines can produce dangerous conditions that can be life-threatening. Read more about benzodiazepine abuse…
Heroin is illegal in the United States and has been a major health concern for over 50 years. With the same effects as opioid painkillers, heroin abuse typically does not continue for long without the development of addiction. With the growing population of painkiller addicts, heroin abuse is once again gaining favor, as it is cheaper and provides a faster high than most painkillers obtained on the black market. Read more about heroin abuse…
Dangers of Drug Abuse
Drug abuse and drug addiction are two different things; however, the line between them is extremely thin, as the abuse of addictive drugs most frequently leads to addiction. While many people believe there is safety in drug abuse, and that it is starkly different from addiction, there is only one determining factor that constitutes addiction, and that is continued use despite unmanageability in any part of life as a result of drug use. Unmanageability can occur in a number of situations including, but not limited to:
- Legal troubles such as DUI or public intoxication
- Troubled or broken relationships resulting from drug abuse
- Lost opportunities or job-related problems resulting from drug abuse
- Health complications resulting from drug abuse
- Financial troubles resulting from misplaced priorities over drug abuse
Individuals who abuse drugs of any kind are walking a thin line, and constantly at risk for developing an addiction, which can happen at any time, and is gradual and progressive. This means that someone who thinks things are controlled in his or her abuse of drugs can one day find that he/she is trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction without any recollection of a warning that it was coming. But there are warning signs of addiction in those who are abusing drugs. It only takes awareness to see them, as they are generally apparent to those who are close to the at-risk individual.
If you are uncertain about whether or not you are abusing drugs, there is a reason for that concern, so please do not ignore it. Call us now to speak with a trained counselor about the situation and your concerns. Drug abuse can be one day away from addiction, and help is available. Even if addiction has developed, treatment is highly effective when it is tailored to the individual in a way that directly relates to his or her needs, preferences, and spiritual beliefs. Please call us before it’s too late, and we will work with you to determine the level of need, and the most effective course of action to resolve and overcome a current or impending addiction to drugs. We are here to help. Please call now.