Drugs of Abuse

Commonly Abused Drugs in the United States

Even though strict anti-drug laws are implemented in the US, it is still the number one user of illegal drugs in the world. In fact, this illicit drug use continues to rise, according to a December 2012 study carried out by the National Institute of Drug Abuse or NIDA. Among these drugs, marijuana is the one that is most abused. This is followed by pain relievers, cocaine then heroin.

Majority of drug users are concentrated in the age group ranging from the late teens to those in their early twenties. The use of drugs are now affecting younger teens more than ever and those in the 14 to 15 age bracket use them more than those aged 35 and above.

In the last 10 years, the use of drugs has risen. It just follows that the need for treatment of drug addiction has also increased. However, out of the 21.6 million people who need this, only 2.3 have undergone drug addiction treatment, which is a wide gap. Before it is too late, individuals who would want to overcome their drug addiction should seek the help of specialists, like those from rehabilitationusa.com.

Rampant Drug Use in the US

No other nation worldwide has consumed and spent as much money on large quantities of drugs as the U.S. The statistics are as follows.

  • About $88 million worth of cocaine is consumed by North America every year. This is about 40% of all the cocaine used worldwide.
  • Because of illicit drug use, the U.S. loses about $181 billion to health care costs, reduced productivity and crime.
  • The U.S., which is the largest consumer of cocaine and heroin in the world, has consumed 181 tons of cocaine in 2008. Also, about 181 tons of heroins are consumed in the U.S. each year.
  • Since 1971, the U.S. government’s fight against drugs has amounted to more than $1 trillion. This means it spends about $23.4 billion each year.

Other Facts on Drug Addiction

  • More than 6 million children in the U.S. stay with a parent who is addicted to drugs.
  • Since 1990, the number of people who illicitly use prescription drugs has increased to more than 500 %.
  • There are more heroin addicts living in Maryland, Baltimore than any state in the U.S.
  • Since 1980, the amount of deaths associated with drug overdose has increased to more than 540%.
  • In 2010, there were about 22.6 million people in the U.S. above the age of 12 who were either present or past users of illegal drugs. This is about 8.9% of the U.S. population with the age of 12 and above.

Top Abused Drugs in the US

  • Marijuana

A derivative of the Cannabis sativa plant, marijuana is the drug that is most commonly abused in the U.S.A. Whenever this is used, it stimulates the nervous system. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. It can, also, affect a user’s memory by making it difficult to focus or remember.

While it is unlikely for marijuana abuse to cause death, taking this drug habitually can lead to health issues like cardiovascular and heart diseases. Those who smoke marijuana are more prone to respiratory problems like chronic cough and lung infections. In addition to this, smoking marijuana has been linked to certain cancers because of the carcinogens it contains.

Marijuana dependence is evident in the latest survey carried out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It shows that over 4.5 million people starting from age 12 have used and abused marijuana.

  • Cocaine

Another drug that is widely abused in the U.S. is cocaine. Whenever it is ingested, this potent stimulant allows users to experience euphoria. However, this short-term feeling only lasts about 30 to 45 minutes.

Usually, this comes in the form of a powder and is snorted. When it is modified into the form of a rock, this is popularly known as crack and is smoked by users. Cocaine increases the heart rate and constricts blood vessels. Taking this drug places users at risk of cardiovascular diseases and even worse, sudden death. This is since cocaine can kill even if it is taken in small doses.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that among 12-year old and above Americans, 16% have experienced using cocaine once in their lifetime. A survey by the Mental Heath Services Administration reveals that 1 million Americans from 12 years old became dependent on cocaine.

  • Opiates

Opiates include heroine, the popular street drug; and codeine and morphine, known as painkillers. People take these drugs because of the pleasurable feelings they give. They have similar effects to eating, having sex, and other activities that make them feel good. When these are taken in high doses, opiates can slow down important functions of the brain such as breathing. Furthermore, an overdose of these drugs can result to comatose and even worse, death.

Since heroin is taken through injection, users are more prone to hepatitis and HIV. These are transmitted by means of needles that are shared.

A 2010 survey shows that almost 359,000 Americans, 12 years old and above, say that they are heroin dependent. This number is considerably high as compared to the 214,000 figure of a 2002 survey.

  • Methamphetamine

This drug, which is also known as meth, comes in the form of a white powder. This can be snorted, smoked or injected. This highly addictive drug is a powerful stimulant. It is similar to cocaine in the way that it increases the heart rate. In addition to this, it can lead to hyperthermia, which is a very high temperature of the body.

Methamphetamine, when used for a long time, can cause insomnia, anxiety and hallucinations. Since meth is acidic, it can wear down teeth and cause dental problems in the long run. The teeth can further get damaged since users tend to grind their teeth.

Users that inject methamphetamine are more prone to hepatitis and HIV. A national survey on drug use states that approximately 13 million Americans that are 12 years old and above have experienced using meth at least once and 277,000 Americans within the same age group say that they are dependent on this drug.

With the above-mentioned statistics on drug use and abuse in the US, the fight against drug, which began in the 1980’s, was not successful in controlling the use of drugs in the US. The numbers of drug users still continue to rise and marijuana is still the number one drug that is most abused. What is important though is to continue encouraging drug users to seek treatment.

Can Drug Abuse Kill My Loved One?

Drugs have real potential for serious harm. Drug abuse ruins lives, families, and can kill you or a loved one. Drugs of abuse, alone or in combination, it makes no difference if they are illicit drugs or legal prescriptions, they can and will kill you. The death toll from drug addiction grows each year.

Prescription pain relievers are a growing drug problem in the United States. Used correctly under a doctor’s care, they are effective and can be quite safe. But once they are abused or mixed with other drugs or alcohol, they can become deadly. Even certain over-the-counter medications can pose life-threatening situations. If you or a loved one are abusing drugs, prescription or illegal, you should seek help immediately. An addiction can be treated and life can be happy and drug-free again.

There are certain drugs to be more cautious of than others. Prescription painkillers are addictive, but never were they thought to be the drug of choice. That has changed in recent years and prescription painkillers are now one of the most popular drugs for those who abuse drugs. Known as opioids, they commonly contain morphine or codeine. Common painkillers that contain these substances are:

  • Darvon
  • Demerol
  • Dilaudid
  • OxyContin
  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Vicodin, Norco, or Hydrocodone

These drugs also have common street names such as ac/dc, blue, 40, 80, coties, demmies, dillies, hillbilly heroin, oc, oxycotton, oxcy, percs, or vics. Whatever they are called, they all are killers when abused. If you know someone who abuses these substances or any illegal drug, know the signs and symptoms of an overdose, which can precede death.

  • Slow breathing (less than 10 breaths in a minute)
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Confusion
  • Passing out, nodding off, or being overly tired
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Not caring about anything (apathy)
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Many times people mistake someone who passes out as being drunk, but if you cannot wake the person, it is usually a sign of trouble and you should seek help. If you think a friend or loved one has overdosed on drugs or alcohol, call 911 for help. Someone who cannot wake up can suffer brain damage, go into a coma, or even die.

Getting into Treatment

Addiction is a type of living death for the addict and those around him. Try to talk to the person about getting help through rehabilitation. The qualified professionals at Best Drug Rehabilitation will offer help, advice, and customize a treatment plan so you or your loved one can regain control of life.

Rehabilitation treatment centers can offer the experience it will take to recover from drug addiction. Whether the abused drugs are painkillers, depressants such as Xanax or Vicodin, alcohol, or street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or marijuana, drug addicts should seek immediate help. A large enough dose of any drug could tell the brain to stop breathing.

Alarming Statistics

Americans consume more than 60 percent of all illegal drugs in the world, and 95 percent of all untreated addicts will die from their addiction. Approximately half of all state prison inmates admit they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they committed the crime that put them in prison. While more than 23 million people need alcohol and drug treatment, only a small percentage seek help.

Unfortunately, because of these kinds of statistics, many addicts will die prematurely, up to 26 years earlier than they normally would have. Many will die and cause other people to die in traffic accidents that are alcohol-related or in crimes they were involved in. Alcohol is a dangerous drug and it is as addictive as many illicit drugs. Unfortunately, children of addicts and alcoholics are four times more likely to become addicted.

Many people die from the violent behavior that is attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. Violence due to alcohol or drugs is responsible for 49 percent of murders, 52 percent of rapes, 21 percent of suicides, and 60 percent of child abuse. Addiction rates are highest between the ages of 18 and 29.

Don’t be fooled. Any kind of drugs and alcohol will kill. In fact, alcohol and drugs are some of the leading causes of death and injury among all adults and teenagers. These facts may be scary, but that is all the more reason to seek help for yourself or a loved one who is addicted.

We Can Help

Life can be saved and turned around with the right treatment center and the professional help necessary to overcome the addiction. The first step is to seek help and advice from support groups, law enforcement, counselors, clergy, or close friends. Whether you decide on a residential facility or outpatient treatment plan, getting help to break the cycle of addiction is your first step toward living again. Best Drug Rehabilitation Services can find and recommend the treatment plan that is best for you or your loved one needing help, guidance, counseling, and support.

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