Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health Summary of National Findings shed light on the most common addictive drug substances currently observed at US Rehabilitation facilities. Although addiction is a powerful disease, following the right recovery and rehabilitation therapies definitely helps in managing the addiction and preventing drug relapse in the future.
- Marijuana(cannabis) is the most commonly used illicit drug substance in the world. This drug has been shown to impair the mind’s ability to focus, concentrate, and even increases the chances of psychosis in addition to poor short-term memory and learning skills. Physiologically, marijuana is known to increase heart rate and cause respiratory distress.
- Heroin known as the ‘King of narcotics’ is often described as the most addictive substance in the world. The compound ‘diamorphine’, known commonly by its original trade name ‘heroin’ is a widely used recreational drug for the intenseeuphoria it creates. Medically, heroin is prescribed as an opioid painkiller for its analgesic properties.
- Cocaine – Cocaine is a powerful stimulant of the Central Nervous System and is commonly used as a recreational drug for the intense happiness and euphoric moods it creates. Nearly 1.6 million people in America are current users of cocaine and 1.1 million are dependent on it.
- Methamphetamine is another highly addictive CNS stimulant, which can cause a high that is known to last 40 times longer than cocaine’s effects. Prolonged and compulsive use of meth or crystal meth leads to serious addiction liability and total dependence on it.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
An alarming increase in the abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications is a cause of concern as these drugs are being used in ways other than their intended prescription-use, thus leading to addiction. Frequently abused classes of prescription drugs are opioid painkillers, psycho-stimulants, and depressants.
- Opioids are commonly prescribed opioid painkillers, which include drugs like morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®). In the United States alone, it has been estimated that more people die from opioid painkiller-overdosage than from heroin and cocaine combined.
- Stimulants: Amphetamines (Adderall®, Dexedrine®) and Methylphenidate (Ritalin®) are Rx-stimulants generally prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Depressants are a class of drugs such as Benzodiazepines and barbiturates usually prescribed to promote sleep or to reduce anxiety.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol is the number ONE abused substance in the USA, with more than half the population identified as drinkers. Out of an estimated 135.5 million people who drink alcohol, 86 million are considered to be strong abusers, who display heavy drinking, binge drinking, and underage drinking.
Similarly, Nicotine users in the American population are estimated to be around 69.5 million all above the age of 12, where tobacco use was highest among the age group of 21 – 25. The long-term effects of chronic tobacco use include chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, and mouth.
Significant “treatment gap”
Recent medical statistics have estimated that around 22.7 million Americans (8.6 percent of the total population) required medical treatment for alcohol or drug abuse and addiction-related problems. However, a deficit in the outreach of medication-assisted treatments has produced a wide treatment gap where only 2.5 million people, that is, 0.9 percent successfully received treatment at a specialized rehabilitation facility.