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Substance Abuse Trends

Growing Substance Abuse Trends

Drug use today is a diverse picture of drugs and addicts, and each decade new (or returning) drugs rise to popularity and represent increased dangers to people everywhere. Current trends regarding drug use today do showcase some fortunate changes in the number of certain drugs abused; however, there are many drugs with increased popularity. Drug abuse causes billions of dollars in damage, health care costs, and loss of life. Remaining aware of current trends helps parents and families keep their children out of harm’s way.

Mixing Drugs is Popular

Top Substance Abuse Trends
Substance Abuse Trends

People who abuse drugs, and teens in particular, have started using prescription opioids alongside other drugs, and a study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that an astounding 7 out of 10 teenagers who abuse drugs do so with more than one drug. Common drugs seen in such patterns of addiction include alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines.

For teens addicted to prescription drugs, there was an extraordinary chance that the teens also abused marijuana, and that there were symptoms of alcoholism present. Abuse of prescription painkillers is one of the fastest growing trends in substance abuse problems. Parents need to be particularly aware of the potential for opioid abuse because illegally obtained prescription drugs are widespread.

Marijuana Abuse Grows

The rate of cocaine use by youths has dropped in the last several years, but the news isn’t all good regarding this trend. Statistics suggest that abuse of cocaine has been replaced in the last decade by a dramatic boost in how many teens have started using marijuana. Unfortunately, a strong marijuana lobby and referendums around the country have caused many youths and older citizens to adopt a favorable opinion about marijuana use.

In the early 1970s, marijuana use was at an all-time high with about half of all high school seniors (12th grade) reporting they had tried marijuana and many reporting that they used it on a regular basis. Those numbers declined sharply throughout the rest of the 1970s and into the 1980s when drugs like cocaine saw a huge boost in popularity. Those numbers reversed once again by the millennium, and in the last decade cocaine abuse dropped again with an appreciable increase in marijuana use.

One of the striking changes regarding the increase in abuse of marijuana is the corresponding drop in cigarette use by teenagers over the past several decades. Marijuana and cigarettes were used with regularity by a significant number of teenagers in the mid-1970s, and after some ebb and flow from each of these drugs, cigarette use has seen a significant downward trend at the same time that marijuana use has started skyrocketing.

Most Popular Drugs Abused

Marijuana and synthetic marijuana are leagues above other drugs regarding frequency of abuse, but there are a number of other trending drugs that are seeing an increase in abuse. The very recent “Monitoring the Future” study, conducted every few years by the federal government, suggests that prescription and non-prescription drugs are at a high rate of popularity for abuse in young adults.

The survey counted Adderall, Vicodin, cough medicine, and tranquilizers as the most commonly abused drugs (behind marijuana and synthetic marijuana). Additionally, drugs like sedatives, hallucinogens, OxyContin, ecstasy, and inhalants were also abused in small amounts. Interestingly, cocaine was almost at the very bottom of the list of illicit drugs abused.

The Rise of Synthetic Drugs

The use of synthetic drugs, like synthetic marijuana or bath salts, has been absolutely meteoric, especially since the drugs were not even widely known a few years ago. Unfortunately, using synthetic drugs, like synthetic marijuana (sometimes called “spice”) has started to increase dramatically because of the assumption that a synthetic drug couldn’t be harmful. This perception of synthetic marijuana is amplified by the growing positive public sentiment regarding marijuana and its effects on the body.

Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests synthetic marijuana could be even more harmful than naturally grown marijuana. Some of the disturbing reports and health problems have suggested that synthetic marijuana could cause kidney damage, brain damage, and even mental psychosis. Unfortunately, the laws regarding spice or synthetic marijuana are still in their infancy, and the fight against this growing trend of abuse is problematic for law enforcement.

Drug Use Grows Worldwide

The rate of drug abuse across the United States is great cause for concern, and unfortunately drug abuse problems aren’t restricted to America. Worldwide, there are reports that major countries continue to experience dramatic levels of drug abuse. A recent report suggested that Britain was the worst country in Europe for drug abuse and that cocaine and amphetamine abuse were out of control in the tiny island nation.

Focusing upon the downward trends of some types of drug use is a great way to focus upon the success that law enforcement, parents, and medical professionals have had in convincing people that drug abuse is dangerous. However, just as soon as one drug becomes unpopular or starts to recede from public view, another dangerous drug takes its place. The best option for bringing these numbers down is to increase the availability of professional inpatient treatment facilities to help addicts recover and stay clean for the long-term. Inpatient treatment is recommended for most addictions because it provides a drug-free environment away from daily causes so the addict can focus on healing. This type of treatment has proven success rates, and can treat anyone and any addiction. Learn more about substance abuse and inpatient treatment by contacting us today.

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