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A Guide to Commonly Abused Drugs

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Commonly abused drugs are the most common illicit street drugs and are often determined by overdose emergency room and fatality rates. 

A survey completed by the CDC indicates that 11% of people over the age of 12 have used an illicit drug in the last month. 

Don’t be a statistic. Start a new life with Thrive Treatment. We work one-to-one with our clients to develop a strong therapeutic relationship focused on addressing the mental and emotional struggles each person deals with.

What Are the Commonly Abused Drugs?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) compiled their 2019 data to determine which drugs are most common in illicit use. Alcohol and opioids are so commonly abused that their statistics were kept separate to not throw off the other data. Following marijuana, psychotherapeutic drugs, hallucinogens, cocaine, inhalants, methamphetamines, and heroin round out the top most commonly abused drugs.

Opioids

Opioids are an extremely addictive prescription pain medication. Opioid use disorder impacted 10.1 million people in 2019. This is a decrease from previous years due to strict opioid prescription oversite nationwide. Drugs like morphine, oxycodone, and codeine are now strictly monitored and prescriptions are tracked. 

Marijuana

Marijuana, now legalized or medically accepted in all but 5 states across the nation, still has the highest rate of illegal use. According to the SAMHSA data, 48.2 million people actively and illegally use marijuana which is a 15.9% increase from 2018. 

Psychotherapeutic drugs 

Psychotherapeutic drugs consist of antidepressants and antipsychotics like Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Abilify, Latuda, and Risperdal. These drugs are commonly misused to the tune of 5.9% or 16.3 million people. Additionally, it is important to note that they are more commonly abused by females than males.

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are the next commonly misused drug. Hallucinogens like LSD, PCP, and Ketamine are misused by 6 million people. These drugs can alter mood, sensory perception, sexual behavior, psychosis, and continued hallucinations. 

Cocaine

Cocaine, derived from a South African plant, is the first stimulant to make the commonly abused drug list. Misused by 5.5 million people, cocaine impacts the body by stimulating the senses creating hyper focus, extreme happiness, and increased energy. Excessive use or misuse can lead to irritability, paranoia, and heart attack.

Inhalants

Inhalants consist of solvents, aerosol sprays, gases, and nitrites. These substances are easily accessed and provide a quick high. Misuse can cause dizziness, lack of coordination, blurred vision and speech, and brain damage. Approximately 2.1 million people regularly use inhalants.

Methamphetamines 

Methamphetamines are the second stimulant to make the commonly abused drugs list. Methamphetamines can be smoked, swallowed, snorted, or injected into the body. Used by approximately 2 million people, meth causes addiction, extreme weight loss, confusion and memory loss, violent behavior, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Heroin 

Heroin is a naturally occurring opioid. Used by over 750 thousand people, it can cause insomnia, collapsed veins, and infection. Heroin also increases the effects of depression and antisocial personality disorder. 

These statistics indicate that a quarter of the United States population is addicted to an illegal drug. But what do you do if you find yourself addicted?

How to Get Help With Drug Addiction Today

Getting help with a drug addiction is the first step you can take towards recovery. We believe our Thrive Treatment program can support you through that crucial first step and guide you through the addiction treatment process. 

Our Santa Monica based treatment program offers partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient programs. We have sober living homes and alumni programs for continued support towards sustainable recovery. 

Start a new life with Thrive. Contact us today to see how we can help you survive and THRIVE!

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