Substance Abuse

Substance Use and Addiction

You will see the term “Substance Use” or “Substance Use Disorders” utilized instead of substance “abuse”, so that individuals needing help are not cast as “bad people,” which creates stigma that may cause them to avoid seeking help. People who are dependent or addicted to drugs have an illness.

What is addiction?
“Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease affecting the brain’s reward, motivation, and related systems.People struggling with addiction are unable to control their actions or make rational decisions about their behavior, even in the face of negative consequences.”

Substance Use Statistics
  • 55.8 million people were cigarette smokers in 2013
  • Men abuse illicit drugs more than women.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of illicit drug dependence; Asian Americans have the lowest.
  • Each year about 5,000 youth under 21 die as a result of underage drinking.
  • In 2012, 58% of people who tried alcohol for the first time were under the age of 18.
  • In 2014, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Maryland High School Students surveyed were more likely to have used tobacco, alcohol and marijuana than their heterosexual peers1

​What Causes People to Use Substances?

  • A variety of things, a combination of things, and not always completely identifiable.
  • Environment
  • Trauma
  • Heredity
  • A legitimate need for the drug to treat a condition may lead to use for other reasons.

Commonly Used Street Drugs

  • Marijuana/Weed
  • Stimulants - Cocaine, Amphetamines, Methamphetamine, Some ADHD Meds

Commonly Used Hallucinogens

  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • Molly
  • Mushrooms
  • Peyote

Most Used Opiates

  • Street Herion - Heroin is less expensive and more potent than ever before. Now some dealers cut it with Fentanyl, an extremely potent narcotic, which will kill an unknowing user.
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodene - Prescribed by doctors and also bought on the street; stolen from medicine cabinets