Substance abuse in America has increased substantially since 2006. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 22.6 million Americans dabble in illegal drugs every year. More and more people fall into the same pattern, and there are various reasons why individuals reach for drugs. Some want to escape the reality and avoid problems while others want to try something new just because they have money. But, one thing is sure, polls are showing an alarming percentage of Americans consuming drugs. The same survey shows an increase in the number of young people misusing drugs. In 2007, the number of young teens over the age of 12 using drugs was 5.8 percent.
Two years later, the number had risen to 6.9 percent. However, it is not all doom and gloom. Law enforcement, rehabilitation, and drug education efforts seem to be bearing fruit. The NSDUH report shows a decline in the number of people abusing certain drugs.
A case in point is the sharp drop in methamphetamine users since 2006. The number of users dropped from 731,000 to 353,000 in 2010. Cocaine users dropped from 2.4 million to 1.5 million during the same period. While these statistics paint a bright future, many people still misuse drugs every day.
Substance abuse – Does not involve the use of illegal drugs alone. In fact, using prescription medication to alter the state of your consciousness qualifies as drug abuse. Most medical experts break down drug categories into three: sedatives, stimulants, and narcotics.
The federal government regulates each of the aforementioned categories of drugs to curb dependency. To ensure wide public awareness, all drugs in these categories have a potential abuse rating. The following guide will take you through common types of drug misuse.
Hallucinogens – Drugs under this classification can also be broken down into three distinct classes. These are dissociative, deliriants, and psychedelics. Users will experience different symptoms depending on the class of drugs being abused. Hallucinogens have been used in different cultural settings for hundreds of years. While the drugs were initially used during cultural events, this is not the case today.
Dissociative – Most dissociative induce a detachment from the surrounding environment. This state is commonly referred to as Dissociative Personality Disorder (DPD). In addition, these drugs have pain killing properties. As the sense of depersonalization becomes more pronounced, one can easily engage in dangerous activities. Some of the most common drugs in this class include ketamine, dextromethorphan (DXM), and PCP.
Alcohol – This is the most widely abused drug in the world today. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alcohol abuse costs the US economy more than $250 billion every year. Continued abuse of alcohol can lead to serious health problems. These include liver damage and mental health issues. Alcohol intoxication symptoms include impaired judgment and motor function.