Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs include some of the most dangerous substances around. There are approximately 22 million users of illicit drugs nationwide.

What Happens After Rehab?

Using drugs for the first time is generally a voluntary one and easy. However, when an addiction occurs, making the decision to quit is more difficult.

Addiction changes a person. It changes the way the person’s brain work, and the way they act and think.

The first step in an addiction is the physical dependence of the drug. A person becomes tolerate to the substance over a period of time. Tolerance means your body needs higher quantities of the drug to be able to achieve the euphoric high you experienced at lower doses. Withdrawal symptoms happen when you attempt to stop using the drug.

The second step in the addiction process is the psychological dependence on the drug. An addict may recognize the negative consequences of their drug use but feels they are unable to stop using the drug. Social and familial responsibilities are affected when a person chooses to continue to use the drug.

Drug Addiction Statistics

According to a study conducted in 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans ages 12 and older that have experimented with an illicit drug or abused a prescription drug one month prior to the study. The rate of illicit drug use was highest in those between the ages of 18 and 25.

Common Drugs of Abuse

  • Cocaine: Cocaine is a stimulant with effects similar to caffeine. Cocaine is generally powder form and snorted. It is extremely addictive to the user. Prolonged use can cause severe weight loss and damage to the nasal passages.
  • Crack: Crack is a potent, freebase form of cocaine. It is generally smoked through a short pipe. This causes blisters and burns to the mouth and hands. Because of the potency, an addiction can develop after only one use.
  • Ecstasy: Ecstasy is often used by high-schoolers and young adults. It has been referred to as the party drug or rave drug. Ecstasy is often sold on the black market and is cut with other drugs such as heroin and LSD. The effects are extremely dangerous.
  • Heroin: Heroin is a synthetic derivative of morphine and is one of the most addictive substances available. It comes in a powder or a sticky gel known as black tar heroin. Long-term abuse of heroin can cause abscesses and scabs on the skin as well as psychological and internal damage.

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  • Inhalants: Inhalants include many household products and are used to achieve a brief high. Common inhalants are nail polish remover, paint thinner, gasoline, and lighter fluid. The long-term use of inhalants can cause severe damage such as muscle deterioration and psychological disturbances.
  • Marijuana: Marijuana is one of the mostly commonly abused drugs. It comes from the cannabis plant and is usually dried, rolled, and smoked. It is known as weed or pot. Even though it is gaining legal recognition, the continued abuse of the substance remains the same. Long-term abuse can cause diminished brain functioning and lung damage.
  • Meth: Methamphetamines (or meth) is a deadly addictive drug. It is a substance that can be made from easily obtained items such as lithium batteries and drain cleaner. Long-term use of meth can cause tooth decay and the appearance of accelerated aging.
  • Hallucinogens: LSD, PCP, mushrooms and salvia are all examples of psychoactive or mind-altering drugs. Even though this type of drug is less common than other drugs for addiction, the use of these substances can cause severe negative side effects.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

If you or someone you know has a drug addiction, there are options for treatment and recovery. Finding a rehabilitation center is the key to a successful recovery. Learn more about treatment options for your specific addiction.