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Commonly Abused Substances in the U.S.

Recreational drug use and addiction is a complex issue that has permeated the culture and touched the lives of most families. In 2015, substance abuse resulted in over 307,000 deaths; that’s twice as reported just 15 years earlier. Today, addiction involves many different substances including alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs.

Alcohol abuse is a problem that doesn’t just affect individuals, but puts a strain on entire families. Like any drug, alcohol changes the ways the brain works, making it hard to quit whether you drink daily or not.

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are what most people refer to as a tranquilizer.

Cocaine is a drug derived from the coca plant, and can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed.

Heroin is an extremely addictive, street opiate that typically comes as a white powder or brown or sticky black powder. The addiction comes from the effect of the drug on the reward system of the brain.

Marijuana is the most used illicit drug available in the U.S. It can be smoked, eaten, or used as an oil. Learn more about Marijuana here.

The abuse of opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers effects around 2.1 million people in the United States

Illicit substances are drugs and chemicals that are commonly ingested for their side effects. Read more here

Stimulants can be classified into two categories: those that are available legally and those that are obtained illegally. Learn more about stimulants here

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Knowing how to identify substance abuse in a loved one, recognizing the signs of abuse and addiction, and knowing what to do when someone is addicted to drugs may allow us to help addicted individuals get the treatment they need.
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