The impact of drug and substance abuse on the young people of America is becoming more and more alarming every year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 64,000 people succumbed to drug abuse-related complications and overdoses in 2016, while 70 million Americans use at least one mind-altering drug. More people are dying of drug abuse than car accidents, most of which, again, are caused by DUI and substance abuse.
Drug abuse is now the leading cause of death in America, and what is even most concerning is that many addicts now use prescription painkillers and synthetic opioids rather than the classic options like Heroine. Below is a list of ten of the drugs that are wrecking the most in America:
Studies of overdose incidents from the years 2011 to 2016 put Fentanyl first on the list, taking over Heroine as the most lethal drug in the United States. Fentanyl is one of the most potent painkillers; almost 50-100 times stronger than morphine, and it is mostly used to assist Cancer patients. However, it is also sold illegally and used along with other drugs for a stronger ‘high.’ It works by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors so that the dopamine levels climb and give the user a feeling of euphoria.
Its rise has increased sevenfold since 2011, as 28.8% of people succumbed to its overdose in 2016, up from 4%. This drug often comes via illegal shipments, which the Drug Enforcement Administration is doing its best to curb.
The impact of opioids like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and other synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids is so severe that the CDC uses the term ‘Opioid Epidemic’ to emphasize its seriousness.
These are primarily prescribed as painkillers, but they cause other psychoactive effects that make them prone to abuse. Half of the people who died of opioid overdose actually obtained them through a legal prescription, while in 2015, 33,000 people in the US alone died from abusing it.
Heroin was discovered in 1874 by C.R. Alder Wright making it one of the oldest drugs in use worldwide. Before it was used to treat severe pain, but due to its destructive effects, it was made illegal in 1971.
There are four times as many Heroin addicts as there were in the year 2000 now. You can quickly identify them by their reduced attention to hygiene, constricted pupils, and their insistence at long sleeves to hide the arm injection sites. Heroine use predisposes addicts to severe liver damage, Hepatitis B and C, and HIV as most of them share their needles.
Cocaine is another drug whose abuse often has lethal consequences. The psychostimulant is so popular that it is the second-most trafficked illegal drug according to the American Addictions Center.
It works by stimulating the dopamine network in the brain to cause the user euphoric feelings. However, it also stimulates the release of Noradrenalin, a stress chemical that causes blood pressure and heart rate to shoot upwards.
As of 2016, 17.8% of drug-related deaths were due to cocaine use. It causes liver, lung and kidney damage, and damages blood vessels leading to heart attack, stroke or death.
Alcohol may be legal, and there are millions of people who consume alcohol within the proper bounds. However, it is still one of the most abused substances in America; it is responsible for over 88,000 deaths every year and $229 billion lost among families and caregivers of addicts. Alcohol takes a significant chunk out of its addicts’ quality of life, often causing job loss, family breakups and health complications.
Ketamine is used by veterinarians to treat animals, but it has also been abused by people seeking an ‘out of reality’ experience. Ketamine users experience incredibly tactile hallucinations in addition to memory loss, ulcers, and HIV.
With the street name Meth or Crystal, it is another popular stimulant that is commonly injected, smoked, or injected. It causes anxiety and sleep deprivation, then in the long term, severe damage to the memory and emotional centers of the brain.
Benzos like Xanax, Diazepam, and Alprazolam are prescribed by psychiatrists to help patients with panic and anxiety disorder, but they are also being used for other reasons. Many people prefer them for their calming effect and to drug unsuspecting persons by lacing their drinks. These drugs are highly addictive, and often people fake prescriptions and steal patients’ meds to obtain them.
Methadone is primarily used to treat drug addiction but has also been used illegally for a long time, killing a third of overdose casualties in 2019. Methadone is effective in alleviating the painful withdrawal effects of opioids and blocking its impact on the brain. It is perfectly safe if taken as prescribed, but has lethal effects when taken in excess.
Oxycodone is an opiate that is prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. This drug is safe to use to control pain for a short period, but can also be misused for the relaxing effect they induce.
These and many other drugs have taken plenty of potential from their users and ruined families. However, recovery is absolutely possible, and as an addict, you can take back control of your life and forget the nightmare of drugs. Contact us today to learn more information on how you or a loved one can receive help. Its never too late to reach out for help.