Drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States for many reasons.
First, people who use drugs are often using more than one type of drug at a time. Second, these individuals may also be abusing alcohol, which is readily available and legal. Third, addiction to drugs can change the personality of a user and that may lead to loneliness. Fourth, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Drug addiction is difficult to overcome without help from treatment programs or other professionals. All of these reasons signal the increase in prevalence and the onslaught of incidence in drug abuse across the US.
One way to curb drug abuse is through drug testing but that is primarily a deterrent. We need a robust solution for substance abuse that includes both conventional solutions like drug testing and rehab but also less popular solutions like digital therapeutics solutions to address substance abuse.
Let's look at the notable signs of drug abuse and overdose.
Notable signs of drug abuse
- Dilated pupils
- Slowed heart rate
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Abusing alcohol
Notable signs of drug overdose
- Slow or erratic heartbeat
- Confusion, sleepiness, or difficulty staying awake
- Slowed breathing
If it's true that "what is measured is managed" then we can agree that pre-employment drug testing has played an important role in decreasing substance abuse. For over 18 years, Uritox has been protecting employees and promoting workplace safety through education, awareness, urine, saliva, and hair drug testing.
How does drug abuse lead to addiction, overdose, and death?
Addiction occurs when the body uses more of the drug than it can process, eventually leading to trembling, vomiting, fever, or seizures. If it is an illegal drug that you're addicted to-say heroin or cocaine, seeing someone else use them could also trigger another bout of addiction.
When people continue using a drug even though they know its negative side effects and dangers, this strong emotional attachment is called dependence. Drug abuse and addiction often begin with feeling emotionally detached, by drinking heavy alcohol for instance, but increasingly turns into panic attacks and panic disorder as your body reacts negatively to tolerance buildup.
Drug overdose typically leads to respiratory depression (decreased breathing), coma (not responsive), and sometimes death as well if not treated quickly enough; there are many signs of overdose, including slowed breathing or heart rate, pinpoint pupils, confusion, or hallucinations.
Why do drug abusers often resort to risky behaviors, unprotected sex, crime (i.e., theft) in order to afford drugs?
There are a variety of reasons drug abusers may resort to crime in order to afford drugs. For one, addiction can be an expensive disease. Drugs are expensive, and addicts are often using more than one type of drug at a time (which increases the price).
On top of this, some people become addicted as a way to cope with psychological pain or trauma that they're trying to avoid (i.e., self-medicating). This can lead them to neglect their basic needs for food, comfort, or sleep--all of which cost money. Addicts might also steal from friends and family members in order to get by. Underlying mental health issues can cause people who abuse drugs to resort to crime in order to pay for their substances.
People who use drugs often neglect their responsibilities at home, work, or school; this leads them into a downward spiral of depression and poverty.
Drug abuse distracts one from living their life. It is hard for an addict to start building a fulfilling life after years of neglecting their responsibilities.
Addicts often feel depressed about what their life has become, and use drugs as a way to avoid these feelings. This may lead them to sink even deeper into addiction, leading to more depression and more substance abuse.
For instance, people who are addicted to cocaine might neglect their family in favor of doing drugs with friends; this can cause significant guilt, which might lead the addict to turn to drugs again in order to cope with these feelings.
Once an addict begins neglecting important responsibilities, they often cannot afford the things they once had; this puts them into a difficult situation where they are unable to get out of using because they no longer have access to any other resources.
The long-term effects of drug abuse
It includes mental illness (i.e., psychosis), depression, anxiety, lung disease, heart disease, stroke.
If you are addicted to a drug, say heroin or cocaine-seeing someone else use the drug may also trigger another bout of addiction. If you keep using drugs even though you know they are bad for you, this strong emotional attachment might be called dependence.
Drug abuse and addiction often begin with feeling emotionally detached but it can turn into panic attacks and panic disorder as your body reacts negatively to tolerance buildup.
Signs that someone may have overdosed on drugs include slowed breathing or heart rate, pinpoint pupils, confusion, or hallucinations.
Respiratory depression usually leads to coma, and sometimes death if not treated quickly enough. The reason for this is that the drugs slow down breathing and heart rate. Drugs also lead to respiratory depression because they interfere with how the body receives oxygen.
Final thoughts on the dangers of drug abuse and overdose
Drug abuse is a serious problem in the United States. It’s important to know the signs of drug abuse and overdose.
If you or someone you love needs help with drug addiction, please call the SAMHSA national helpline at 1800-662-HELP ( 4357) for guidance and more information on rehab centers, treatment programs, and other resources that might be available near you!