What are illicit drugs?
Illicit drug use includes the use of a wide variety of mind-altering substances. This includes the misuse of prescription drugs or the use of marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or methamphetamine.
How prevalent is drug use?
47.7 million people used mind-altering substances last year. Of those, 36 million used cocaine/crack, 36 million used marijuana and 18.9 million people misused prescriptions in the past year. This class of drugs includes prescription pain relievers (such as oxycodone), tranquilizers (such as Xanax) and sedatives (such as valium).
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, yet addiction remains very prevalent in the United States. Roughly 7.7 million people in the U.S. meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder (a.k.a. “drug abuse” or addiction).
If you cannot get a response from someone who may have overdosed, do not assume they are asleep. Unusual or deep snoring is a common sign of overdose. Do not let people at risk ‘sleep it off’. If you see any of these signs, immediately move to activate the response plan for overdose.
Warning Signs of Drug Addiction
Sometimes the warning signs of drug misuse or abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface. The chance for successful recovery increases when drug addiction is discovered in its early stages.
Common signs of addiction include:
Loss of control
Continued to use despite consequences
Spending less time on activities that used to be important, such as hanging out with family and friends, exercising, or pursuing hobbies or other interests
Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
Taking serious risks in order to get one’s drug of choice
Acting out in personal relationships, particularly if someone is attempting to address their substance problems
Going out of one’s way to hide the amount of drugs taken
Serious changes in hygiene or physical appearance
Needing to use more and more of the drug in order to produce the same effect
Withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, trembling, sweating, nausea or fatigue
Educating the community disrupts the stigma about drug use and spreads the message that addiction is treatable. Don’t keep silent about addiction. Use your voice to share your story.