Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is the use of illegal drugs, or the abuse of prescription drugs. The abuse of drugs happens when people use the drugs in a manner or in quantities other than intended.

Drug abuse also referred to as substance abuse or chemical abuse, is a disorder that is defined by a destructive pattern of behavior found in teens and adults.

This disorder is characterized by a maladaptive pattern of using a variety of substances that often lead to significant problems in a person’s life and general well being. Studies have shown that drug abuse affects more than 7% of people at some point in their lives.

Drug abuse goes back to man's earliest time. When man started farming around 6000 B.C., it wasn't long before fermentation was discovered and the production of alcohol soon followed. People have always enjoyed eating or drinking substances that caused them to feel euphoric.

Prescription drugs, which are generally prescribed by a physician to manage pain, treat illness, common infections, mental disorders, or other chronic diseases, that the patient is suffering from. For safety reasons and to protect the general public, prescription medications are closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These medicines are only beneficial when used as directed by the physician. When misused they can have harmful effects that can be permanent or even cause death in some cases.

Groups of drugs abused, but not limited to:

  • Marijuana
  • Phencyclidine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Stimulants
  • Amphetamines
  • Inhalants
  • Opiates, Opioids and Narcotics

It has been found that teens are increasingly engaging in prescription drug abuse, which are used relieve pain. Use of prescription drugs without a prescription, called "diversion" is illegal and may put one at risk for arrest and prosecution.

Between 1995 and 2005, treatment admissions for dependence on prescription pain medicine included; Oxycodone (OxyContin) and Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Vicodin) grew more than 300 percent.

Stages Of Juvenile Drug Abuse

  • Experimental use-- usually involves friends or peers, recreational use. Often defies authority figures.
  • Regular use -- the user misses school or work; thoughts revolve around next use. They may be avoiding friends and family, and associate with new friends who also are regular users.
  • Daily preoccupation -- the user looses interest in life. He or she doesn’t take an interest in school or work. They may have increasing legal trouble with not only use but may sell drugs as well.
  • Dependence – They cannot face daily life without drugs. They deny there is a problem. Their physical condition and health is deteriorating, as well as loss of "control" over use. They can become suicidal, and cut all ties with family or friends.

In the treatment of drug abuse, evaluation should be performed by a trained professional to find the best solution for the individual, whether it is a combination of counseling or behavior modification to change how they view themselves. Drug Abuse is never truly cured but can be treated one day at a time.

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