Substance abuse is a scourge that has affected many individuals, causing countless deaths and shattering the lives of many it touches. Even those who recover have often incurred losses and damages that can make a recovery more difficult, one of the tragic qualities of addiction.
Sadly, there’s a greater demand for drug rehab services than there is a supply, leaving many people without help each year. This alone highlights the need for such services and drives us to do what we do each day; repair the damages caused by addiction and help people get their lives back.
But this effort would be incomplete without addressing the source of the problem rather than the outcome alone. That is the essence of prevention.
Substance abuse prevention is the road out from an unending epidemic. Addiction has become a defining feature of America and a leading cause of death. Prevention consists of concerted efforts to eliminate the factors that lead to and cause addiction. With prevention, treatment becomes unnecessary. We aim to reach that goal one day.
Historically, we can safely say that prevention efforts have fallen short. This is clear from the current state of addiction in our country. Scare tactics and “just say no” campaigns may have meant well but also worsened a blossoming issue. Heavy penalties don’t discourage addiction more than the in-school programs of the 1990s. So, what will?
We don’t claim to have a magic bullet. But we believe providing accurate information is the best starting point. Individuals make their own choices and are better equipped to do so when armed with facts instead of falsehoods. We strive continually to be and reliable source of information that anyone can use.
On this page, you will find:
- Personalized advice and frequently asked questions- These are genuine answers from treatment professionals to real questions many people have posed to us over our cumulative years of experience. We draw upon many different backgrounds and give straightforward answers to some of the most commonly asked questions from those struggling with addiction and their loved ones.
- Comprehensive information on drugs- We tackle some of the most commonly abused substances in America, providing an unrivaled source of information on each. This can help with everything from identifying drugs and drug abuse to specific treatment interventions and further resources.
- Listing of prevention resources- Here, you can find further resources for substance abuse prevention.
Who Are You?
I’m a parent looking for more information for myself
Battling substance abuse is already hard enough. Doing bit as a parent can feel impossible. But anyone can recover the life they once had before addiction.
Stigma can be one of the most significant barriers for a parent. People tend to feel unworthy of help or that they are a bad person because they have a child and are also struggling with addiction. But this can become a downward spiral rapidly if they won’t reach out for help and keep it hidden.
If you’re struggling with addiction as a parent, the worst thing you can do is keep hiding it. Children must be protected as a priority, so this isn’t advising anyone to expose them to drug use or tell them what you’re going through. But you must reach out to a family member or close friend and get help as soon as possible.
Never buy into the mentality that you can’t go to treatment because you won’t be there to care for your child. Anyone struggling with addiction wasn’t entirely there, to begin with. There are always solutions for childcare and rehabilitation that allow you to still see them. This can become an excuse for people perpetually preventing them from getting on the road to a better life. Don’t let that happen to you. Every minute your addiction continues is time away from them.
I’m a parent looking for more information for my child
As a parent with limited or no experience with addiction, it can be overwhelming to need treatment for a struggling child. This need usually springs from a crisis or sudden discovery that your child is abusing substances. That fact alone can be a lot to digest, but there isn’t time to panic. Addiction is roulette, and people die every day when it’s left untreated. But not everyone knows for sure that their child is using drugs. As is frequently, the parent will strongly suspect addiction without evidence of drug use. And when it comes to suspecting your child is using drugs, this intuition is nearly always correct. No one begins suspecting such a thing without observing signs and symptoms beforehand. And no one wants to believe that their child is struggling with addiction.
Once it’s established that your child is abusing substances, treatment is necessary. There’s no point in listening to excuses about how it won’t happen again, or that this was the first time, etc. If you see the signs and find them using drugs, they’re at risk and need help now. If you observe signs of substance abuse but haven’t “caught” them using, don’t wait. You never know how you might finally find out. Confront them about your suspicions and intervene.
I’m a young adult looking for more information for a friend
This can be a tricky situation. When our close friend is potentially abusing substances, the last thing we want to do is push them away. Then, it becomes impossible to help them.
Many people also fear doing nothing and appearing like they approve of or are okay with the issue. No one wants to stand by and watch someone they care about to kill themselves. But there are solutions to the dilemma, and they start with communication.
If your friend is attempting to keep their drug use hidden or denying it, you can certainly intervene and discuss the situation with them. After all, there’s usually a better chance they’ll tell you than a family member. Perhaps, they admit to addiction but refuse to change. Or, if you think it won’t go well or try and they keep lying or denying the obvious, you may need to recruit help.
Going to their family may feel like a betrayal, but it’s not. If you care enough about the person to help this much, never doubt your intentions. It’s not about getting them “in trouble.” It’s about saving their life. Their family may have the capability to convince them or orchestrate an intervention.
I’m a young adult looking for more information for myself
Although the situation may seem dire, the good news is that you have options. As a young adult, the time to address the issue of substance abuse and put it behind you is now. Most patients in treatment are young adults.
A common mistake people make when looking for drug rehab for the first time is choosing a program based on convenience rather than effectiveness. For example, many people choose a program nearest to their home out of convenience. But this offers no treatment advantage and instead is a potential liability. Anything that makes it easier for you to quit when times get tough can serve to weaken resolve during rehabilitation.
Sometimes people choose medication-maintenance programs because they can continue their daily life without much interruption. But this illusion and the appeal of avoiding withdrawal can be particularly tempting for people addicted to opioids. The inherent flaw in medication maintenance is that the person is still dependent on substances, which incurs many risks and downsides of illicit drug abuse. Often, the lack of improvement in the quality of life leads people back to illegal drugs and, eventually, rehabilitation that doesn’t use drugs to treat drug addiction.
When it comes to identifying drug use in a loved one, it helps to know about the different kinds of drugs that are commonly abused. Even those looking for help can benefit from knowing more about how the risks and dangers of drug abuse can affect them. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most commonly abused substances.
Alcohol is an extremely common drug of abuse. Because alcohol has a history of being treated differently than drugs, it’s important to distinguish that alcohol is a drug. Being legal or socially acceptable doesn’t change the nature of a compound, nor does the fact that it comes in a liquid form. Alcohol dependence is a severe and life-threatening condition that kills many Americans yearly. Even the process of withdrawing from alcohol can be deadly and requires medical supervision, making it one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances in America. Once illegal in all states, marijuana has gained popularity and acceptance recently and become legal for medical and recreational use in many states. But this doesn’t mean that it cannot be abused in the same way that other legal substances like alcohol are. And while there’s much debate about the subject, it remains clear that abusing any substance opens the door to addiction and further drug use.
Heroin is a drug that fell out of popularity until recently, when the overprescribing of prescription opioids caused a nationwide addiction epidemic. This created a renewed demand for heroin, a cheaper and more potent drug than most. Heroin addiction has become so rampant in some regions that it’s far easier to obtain than seeing a doctor for pain. Perhaps that’s why it’s practically become America’s drug of choice since the early 2000s. Heroin is extremely dangerous, causing overdose and killing many people every year.
Meth is an extremely powerful stimulant. A stimulant is any drug that increases alertness and activity in a person, speeding up their body’s systems. When ingested, meth can cause the user to feel highly energetic and euphoric. These effects can last for several hours, causing the person to avoid food and sleep and continue using the drug for days. Meth users can become delirious and paranoid, a state that occurs from the effects of the drug combined with lack of sleep. While it used to be uncommon with meth, overdose has become quite common as the drug’s potency and popularity have increased since America’s drug epidemic began.
Prescription drugs are a group of drugs that include anything available prescription-only and manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. This includes some of America’s most commonly abused drugs, such as opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants. These drugs work pretty differently, but they can cause severe addiction and death. For many people, illicit drug addiction begins with prescription drug abuse. Given the number of drugs prescribed in the US each year, it’s no wonder addiction has become a problem today.
Cocaine is another stimulant drug that’s seeing an increase in popularity. Cocaine abuse was prevalent in America in the 1980s, leading to one of our nation’s first significant drug epidemics. Since then, there’s been a continued appetite for the drug in the country, particularly in those states along the southern border. Nearly all of the cocaine consumed in America is smuggled from the south, making its way to significant cities rapidly.
Opioids and Opiates
Opioids are among the most commonly abused drugs in America. Opioids are a class of drugs that is very broad, including everything from heroin and fentanyl to prescription forms like Percocet and codeine. These drugs rapidly develop addiction and physical dependence and are the focal point of the largest addiction crisis we’ve ever known. Opioids are central nervous system depressants, meaning they slow down vital functions in the body. This is also how they kill, by slowing breathing until respiratory failure occurs. Sadly, opioids are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in America, illustrating why the problem of addiction exists.
Benzodiazepines are a type of drug that’s commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia. These drugs slow down the brain’s functioning, resulting in tranquility and sedation. These effects can make the user feel very relaxed and free from worries. Because of the powerful feeling, people who become addicted to benzodiazepines will seek them out at all costs. To make matters worse, getting off of benzodiazepines can be life-threatening and require medical supervision. This can make the user feel trapped with little or no options.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. Synthetic means that it is created artificially in a lab and doesn’t exist anywhere in nature. Fentanyl is many times stronger than heroin, making it one of the deadliest drugs in the world. Unless someone has built up a tolerance to opioids, almost any dose of fentanyl can be deadly. The drug is often added to poor-quality heroin or other fillers to sell to unsuspecting people because it is often cheaper and easier to obtain than heroin.
Inhalants are a group of drugs that exist in a gas or liquid state, and the fumes are inhaled to produce a “high.” These drugs are notorious for being extremely dangerous and causing death and bodily harm. Often, inhalants contain highly toxic chemicals and cut off oxygen to the brain, causing damage when used. They are extremely popular among adolescents because inhalants are often everyday household cleaning products that young people can access.