Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse in America
*Drug addiction in the United States has had a negative impact on culture and society in more ways than one. There are several known causes of addiction based on age, gender, and socio-economic living conditions. These addictions are not limited to illegal/ street drugs, but also includes over the counter medications and drugs prescribed by doctors. The drug abuse epidemic in the United States has resulted in a demand for more accessible free and low-cost rehab, addiction treatment centers, and Rapid Drug Detox Centers.
*Some of the most addictive substances are those prescribed by doctors like Xanax and Opiates. Heroine, Marijuana, Cocaine, and alcohol are also at the top of the list when evaluating substances that are most commonly abused. Although these numbers are quite high, there are many accessible and affordable options for those battling addiction and substance abuse.
*U.S. culture and society have suffered tremendously at the hands of drug abuse and addiction. Adult drug addiction is prevalent with the use of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and alcohol, “adult” being anyone over 12 years of age. The impact is reflected in decline in workplace productivity, safety, and an increase in healthcare expenses for corporations. According to statistics, American society loses almost $800 Billion in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs associated with drug abuse/addiction. In 2017 it was reported that nearly 20 Million Americans battled some substance addiction. This was among Americans over the age of twelve years old. One out of every eight adults suffered from both drug and alcohol abuse at the same time, which to treat, requires a dual diagnostics rehab. In 2017, almost 1 Million people over age 12, were reported to be addicted to cocaine yet only 50 percent of those individuals were reported to have received treatment or therapy. This, leaving almost 500,000 Americans operating in society under the influence of cocaine addiction.
* Some of the causes of addiction vary from home and social environment to socio-economic status and these causes impact people differently based on gender, age, and pre-existing health conditions. Some additional causes of addiction are abuse and the attitudes and influence of peers and family members. Research indicates that 40-60 percent of cases of drug addictions are caused by genetics and family/ home living environment. The younger a person is, the more susceptible they are to forming addictions to drugs and/ or alcohol. The same rings true for those with pre-existing mental illnesses or disorders.
*Chemical imbalances in the brain can also make an individual more likely to form addictions when exposed to foreign substances. Drugs can also be the cause of chemical imbalances in those individuals with no prior history of mental illness.
*Dopamine is the brain’s neurotransmitter that is activated by drug use. This sense of “false happiness” or “false joy” can result in extreme emotional highs and lows among users which plays a major part in forming the addiction. The craving for the feelings of happiness is the result of the body’s inability to produce the proper amounts of dopamine on its own. As a result, the body becomes dependent upon the drug to experience these feelings. Another key component in brain function and chemistry is serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for sleep. When the levels of serotonin are off or imbalanced, people often experience feelings of depression, anxiety, aggression, suicide, and angry/ irrational behaviors. Glutamate is the chemical associated with memory and the forming of habits and daily routines. A glutamate imbalance can lead to drug use quickly becoming a part of a user’s daily routine and leads to memory loss or blurred/ foggy memories. Once these chemical imbalances have occurred, addiction becomes extremely difficult to break without seeking treatment.
*Alcohol addiction and drug addiction are similar but not quite the same in terms of treatment. When detoxing from drugs and alcohol, patients typically experience sweating, cramps, depression, pain, and chills. The biggest difference between drug recovery treatment and alcohol recovery treatment is that alcohol detoxification may take longer, due to the frequency of consumption and the slow but detrimental effects that alcohol has on the body and the brain. One of the symptoms of alcohol addiction detox that is not true of drug addiction detox is delirium tremens, better known as DT. Delirium Tremens occurs when a patient is detoxing from alcohol and comes in the form of hallucinations. They can cause convulsions, night tremors, extreme confusion and they can even result in death.
*Below is a break-down of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. and their impact on users, as well as recommended methods of treatment for each drug.
*Marijuana addiction is often taken lightly. As a legal drug (in some states) that is highly accessible, it is also highly habit-forming. It is a mind-altering drug that causes mild hallucinations and has an impact on the perception of its users. When used in moderation, It does have some health benefits including reduced anxiety, and aiding with sleep; however, long term and extended use can result in impaired judgment and the user’s inability to feel “normal” without it. Some of the warning signs of Marijuana addiction include noticeable weight gain, increased appetite, bloodshot eyes, lack of motivation, impaired judgment, distorted perception, slowed or poor coordination, and anxiety. Marijuana detox can result in some of the following symptoms, restlessness, depression, agitation, insomnia, and the inability to experience a pleasure. Inpatient rehab for marijuana addition usually lasts anywhere from 30-90 days.
*The issue of legalizing marijuana is up for debate in some states, but many of them are growing keen on the idea of permitting citizens to indulge. It is still largely debatable if marijuana is harmful enough to be considered a “drug” however due to its mind-altering properties, it still falls under the same category. Although marijuana can alter the mental state and behavior of its users, there are drugs, including those prescribed by doctors that are ten times more likely to result in dangerous addiction and even death. One of those highly addictive drugs is heroin.
*Heroine addiction has similar psychological effects as marijuana addiction; however, the physical impacts are much more detrimental. Many people become addicted to heroin when they can no longer afford their prescription pain medication or when the pain becomes so severe that the prescribed medications are no longer working. Heroin is a member of the opiate family, and it has the power to block out the brain’s ability to feel the sensation of pain. Which to some might sound euphoric, but the effects are often irreversible with a high risk of death. Some of the signs and symptoms of Heroin use and abuse include. Shortness of breath, dry mouth, constricted pupils, sudden behavioral changes, disorientation, cycles of sudden nodding off coupled with hyperalertness, and a droopy appearance with seemingly heavy extremities.
*Heroine users consume or inject heroin using needles or syringes that pose the risk of infection and the spreading of diseases and viruses including HIV. The drug can also be consumed by using/ burning silver spoons, aluminum foil or gum wrappers, and even straws. Some of the warning signs to look out for if you are concerned that someone you know may be using or abusing heroin is, burn marks on any of the items as mentioned above. Burned spoons, straws, and burned gum wrappers are all warning signs in addition to missing shoelaces used as a tie off for injections. Traces of white powder are also a red flag and be on the lookout for any pipes that may be out of place with a white powdery residue.
*Heroine overdose occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed by the drug and can no longer rid the body of it. Broken relationships, ruined business opportunities, missed wages and loss of stability are only scratching the surface when it comes to heroin addiction. The risk of overdose increases, depending on how long and how often a person is using the drug. The risk of overdose is always present, as there is no A heroin overdose should be taken very seriously as it is considered a medical emergency that has a very high chance of resulting in death. The number of Heroine associated deaths is over 10,000 each year in the United States alone. If you or anyone you know is at risk for suffering a heroin addiction and seeking heroin detox, the toll-free number to the addiction hotline is 844-207-6576.
*Cocaine is another narcotic that is very dangerous and highly addictive. Millions of people use cocaine or “Coke” as often as their morning coffee. Cocaine users believe the drug will help ease anxiety, but it speeds up the brain’s neurotransmitters and causes the very anxiety it was intended to relieve. The drug gives users a Euphoric high that is followed by a debilitating crash. Users become addicted because they begin using the drug to conquer the same crash that it caused. The cycle often ends in death or the destruction of many lives and relationships that are seldom ever the same.
*Coke is a stimulant that most commonly comes in the form of a white powder that is inhaled through the nose, rubbed on the gums, swallowed, or injected by needle. Crack cocaine is another form of the drug that is even more addictive than cocaine. It is the same drug in a more potent, crystallized form. The levels of dopamine released in the body by cocaine are abnormal and even after one use, it becomes difficult for the body to match these levels of dopamine without the presence of coke in the system. Thus, creating the addiction. Users begin to thrive from and crave the euphoric feeling that the drug provides, and after just one use, they can no longer accomplish these levels of happiness and joy on their own.
*Despite being one of the most expensive drugs on the market, it is typically sold in tiny portions. Because of the high demand for the drug, dealers often mix the drug with other white powder-like products to maximize profits. Some of these include flour, sugar, silicone, and even laundry detergent. The drug typically stays in the system for around five days, but for those who use the drug heavily and often, it can be detected in the system for up to two weeks.
*The number of cocaine-associated deaths in the united states is just under six thousand per year. People often start using cocaine to help reduce anxiety and to boost their energy in the same way that caffeine or coffee would. The difference is that there are serious withdraws associated when users attempt to discontinue using the drug.
* The opinions of peers are stressing some of the most common symptoms among cocaine users and being very insecure or self-conscious, insomnia, nausea, and dizziness, the inability to be present and worrying about past/ future events that are out of their control. The first step in getting treatment for cocaine addiction is awareness. The problem can only be solved if the user is aware and willing to take back control of his or her life. California has several treatment centers that specialize in cocaine addiction including, Akua Mind and Body in Newport Beach, Hoag Recovery Center in Irvine, and The Hills Recovery Center in Los Angeles. many others. For a complete list of rehab centers in the Southern California area, you can call 844-691-6964.
*Another dangerous and highly addictive drug is OxyCotin or Oxycodone, which is a prescription opioid that doctors in America began using in the late 1930s to help treat and relieve pain. Doctors began prescribing OxyCotin in the US in 1995, and this narcotic has been proven to be highly addictive since it hit the market, and its effects are similar to those of heroin. It is an affordable prescription drug that is abused by many. The deaths associated with OxyCodone or Oxycontin are over five thousand in the united states annually.
*Some signs of addiction to Oxycodone are imbalanced emotions, drifting between euphoria, depression, delight, anxiety, and panic attacks. They could also result in the forging of prescriptions, isolation from friends and loved ones, neglecting personal appearance, and poor academic or occupational performance. The long-term use of the drug can result in coma or death, and the withdraws from attempted detoxification can be quite intense. Some of the Opiate Detox include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, panic attacks, insomnia, and even cardiovascular complications.
*There are many low-cost and affordable treatments available for those facing addiction to Oxy. Depending on the level of dependency and duration of use of the drug, there are both inpatient and outpatient programs available. Outpatient centers allow people to continue with their work, school, and family routines while continuing rehab while the inpatient process is much more intense and requires patients to be monitored 24 hours a day until they have completed the detox process and been cleared to return to their normal routines.
*All of the drug mentioned above addictions can be influenced by socio-economic environment and genetics. Despite the notion that drug and alcohol abuse is determined by race or ethnicity, studies have found that in actuality, those individuals who are at the highest risk for drug and alcohol addiction are those with limited access to education, employment, and socioeconomic resources. People who are living in households where drug and alcohol use is prevalent are more likely to become users themselves, but access to resources and education can serve as a form of substance abuse prevention.
*American culture has been drastically impacted by drug and substance abuse. Studies indicate that although Americans only make up 4% of the world’s population, they still manage to consume two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs. One could argue that America’s substance abuse epidemic is a first world problem perpetuated by pop culture and the ever-widening socio-economic gap that is quickly dissolving the middle class.
*Despite the socio-economic issues that contribute to the substance abuse epidemic that exists in the United States, there are many available, affordable resources. There are many options and resources available if you or anyone you know is seeking Drug rehab in Los Angeles. For nationwide information on the top ten treatment and rehabilitation centers in the US, you can click here.
- Psychologist shares perspective on shootings
- Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse in America
- Woman finds success at Forward Recovery in addiction battle following post-rehab struggle
- Forward Recovery psychologist reacts to San Diego-area synagogue shooting
- Slim Shady celebrates: Eminem marks 11 years of sobriety