What Is The Difference Between Illicit And Illegal Drugs
The term âillegal drugsâ means that the drug is illegal to use or possess. Using an illegal drug puts you at risk of arrest and being put into the criminal justice system by law enforcement.
Not all illicit drugs are illegal, as some may be medically prescribed but sold on the street for illicit use, or otherwise used not as intended.
Principles Of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment
These 13 principles of effective drug addiction treatment were developed based on three decades of scientific research. Research shows that treatment can help drug-addicted individuals stop drug use, avoid relapse and successfully recover their lives.
Some Suggestions To Get Started:
- Learn all you can about alcohol and drug misuse and addiction.
- Speak up and offer your support: talk to the person about your concerns, and offer your help and support, including your willingness to go with them and get help. Like other chronic diseases, the earlier addiction is treated, the better.
- Express love and concern: don’t wait for your loved one to “hit bottom.” You may be met with excuses, denial or anger. Be prepared to respond with specific examples of behavior that has you worried.
- Don’t expect the person to stop without help: you have heard it before – promises to cut down, stop – but, it doesn’t work. Treatment, support, and new coping skills are needed to overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs.
- Support recovery as an ongoing process: once your friend or family member is receiving treatment, or going to meetings, remain involved. Continue to show that you are concerned about his/her successful long-term recovery.
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Illicit Drug Overdose Risk
Theres a risk of overdose with any drug if you take too much, use it too often, or mix it with other drugs. Overdose symptoms vary depending on the drug.
An overdose on depressant drugs like heroin causes difficulty breathing, which can cut off oxygen to the body and brain. Stimulant overdose may result in a rapid heart rate, overheating, and seizures.
Because illicit drugs arent monitored by any reputable source like prescription drugs are, they could be laced with anything. Some contain substances that shouldnt be ingested, like laundry soap. Some are combined with more potent drugs, which can have unexpected effects.
You might be afraid to ask for help if you overdose on an illicit drug, since you may face criminal consequences for using it in the first place. Overdose death often results from people not getting the medical attention they need because of this fear.
Some statesbut not allhave Good Samaritan laws that protect people who overdose as well as those who call for help so they wont risk punishment for saving a life.
Psychological Effects Of Illicit Drugs Addiction
Aside from physical effects, there are also psychological ones. Based on the report of psychologists from Massachusetts, substance use disorder is one of the significant factors for suicidal ideation or behaviors.
Other mental effects of illicit drugs addiction include:
- Mental confusion due to brain damage. As illicit drugs affect the brain, the brain structure changes, making the users vulnerable to emotional harm.
- Problems with decision-making and inability to focus well.
- Other mental disorders such as ADHD, conduct disorder, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders like social & specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.
- For older adults, dementia and insomnia may also occur.
Looking at these effects, it is safe to say that the use of illicit drugs comes with long-term effects that are detrimental to health. Patients who want to safely recover from illicit drug addiction might consider addiction treatment at rehabilitation centers.
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Central Nervous System Stimulants
Illicit stimulants include cocaine and methamphetamine. These drugs are listed on Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, which means they have a high potential for abuse, but they also have some medical value. The prescription drug Adderall has a very similar chemical composition to meth, making it one of the most highly abused prescription drugs. Almost 40% of emergency room visits involve cocaine.
How To Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs
Drug use affects people from all walks of life and of all socioeconomic statuses. Whatever the reason a person starts taking drugswhether recreationally or as prescribedtolerance, patterns of increased use, physical dependence and, ultimately, addiction may developsometimes before the user even realizes it.1
When a full-blown substance-use disorder develops, it can be extremely difficult to stop using drugs without professional treatment.2 Drug use can wreak havoc on the body and mind and may eventually become deadly. When you realize that you or someone you love has a problem, its essential to get help right away. There is no shame in admitting that you need treatment for drug use doing so can be life-saving. Learn about drug detox helplines.
Use of most substances will produce noticeable signs and symptoms. These may include physical or behavioral symptomsmost likely both.
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Overdose And Other Health Risks
Illicit drug users are often unaware of exactly what substance theyre taking and how potent the dose is.One of the greatest risks associated with illicit drug use of any kind is the possibility of fatal overdose.
Unlike prescription drugs, which require extensive testing and FDA approval before going to market, illicit drugs are made in clandestine laboratories across the country and overseas. While people who abuse prescription drugs at least have a clear understanding of which specific drug and drug dose they are using, illicit drug users are often unaware of exactly what substance theyre taking and how potent the dose is.
When drugs differ in strength from batch to batch, or when they come laced with or sold as another drug entirely, it can be difficult for users to regulate how much of the substance they take so as to prevent overdose. This danger is especially apparent among opioid drugs, in which heroin has been found to be laced with far more potent opioids, such as fentanyl. From 2010 to 2015, almost half a million people died from drug overdose.6
In addition to overdose, illicit drugs can cause a number of negative physical and behavioral side effects. For example, stimulants can lead to increased heart rate, severe paranoia, and aggression. People who inject drugs such as heroin have a higher risk of contracting communicable diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis, and smoking marijuana or PCP can, over time, cause damage to the lungs.
When Should I Seek Urgent Help
If a person is having an unusual reaction to a drug or if youre worried about your own or others safety call triple zero immediately.
Drugs and alcohol can affect people in different and unpredictable ways. Signs of an unusual or dangerous reaction to a drug can include:
- blue fingernails or lips
- becoming pale or sweaty
Its important to seek immediate medical attention even if youre worried the person might get into trouble for taking illegal drugs. Emergency services will only notify police if there is a risk to them or the persons own safety, the safety of others or if someone dies.
A persons parent or guardian will only be notified if they are under 18.
If a person becomes aggressive or violent after consuming drugs or alcohol, dont stay with them if your own safety is at risk. You can still help the person by calling triple zero once youre in a safe place.
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What Should I Not Say To Someone About Their Drug Or Alcohol Use
When speaking to someone about their drug use, listen respectfully to their views, and respond calmly. The tone and the type of language you use is important.
Try to avoid the following, since this may upset the person and make them less likely to seek support:
- being judgmental
- using negative labels like addict
Deaths From Substance Use Disorders
Alcohol disorders have the highest death toll amongst substance use disorders
In the visualization we see the breakdown of deaths from substance use disorders by substance type. Note that these figures include only direct deaths from drug dependence.
Collectively, all substances shown in red are classified as illicit drugs.
We see that globally alcohol has the highest death toll amongst substance use disorders. Deaths from opioid overdoses have increased significantly in recent years and now exceed 80,000 globally.
This data can be explored for any country or region using the change country toggle on the interactive chart.
Deaths from alcohol are high across Eastern Europe illicit drug deaths are high across North America
In the interactive visualization we see death rates from alcohol and drug use disorders, measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals.
We see much higher rates in the USA and across several countries in Eastern Europe. In the USA, this was dominated by illicit drug dependence, whereas alcoholism was much more common in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Related charts number of deaths from substance use disorders.This map shows the number of deaths from substance use disorders each year. This chart shows the breakdown of annual deaths between alcohol and illicit drug use disorders.
Many who die from substance use disorders are young
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Find Treatment For Substance Use Disorders Today
You do not have to battle illicit drug abuse alone. Addiction treatment facilities around the United States can assist you or your loved ones on your journey to sobriety.
Written by the Addiction Resource Editorial Staff
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : National Center for Health Statistics
Drug Addiction Treatment For Youth
We can help your struggling child start the journey of recovery. Admitting your child to an addiction treatment program is an experience that goes beyond most other “parental experiences“. Its indescribable. Our professional staff of interventionists can help you through the selection process. Throuch advocacy, coaching, and assistance we can help you assess your child’s situation and steer you in the right direction. Our Family Interventionists have help thousands of parents find the perfect therapeutic option.
A less restrictive intervention option for parents of troubled teen boys and girls and young men and young women is to look at outpatient addiction treatent centers near Ontario, CA.
0utpatient addiction treatment programs are referred to as intensive outpatient treatment where youth participate in individual and group therapy and attend 12 Step meetings, but they do not stay at the program overnight.
Usually, in order for an outpatient program to be effective, the individual must really want the help. If they are not totally 100% engaged and bought into the outpatient program, the chances of success are slim.
See seach results for addiction treatment centers for adolescent boys and girls or for troubled young men and women in Ontario, CA below.
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Prevalence Of Substance Use Disorders
Over 2% of the world population has an alcohol or illicit drug addiction
How common is alcohol or drug addiction?
In the map here we see the share of the population with a substance use disorder. Globally, just over 2% of the world were dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug.
In some countries its even more common. In the USA and several countries in Eastern Europe, more than 1-in-20 were dependent. In the USA, this was dominated by illicit drug dependence, whereas alcoholism was much more common in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Alcohol and drug addiction is more common in men
How does the prevalence of substance use disorders alcohol and illicit drug addiction vary between men and women?
In this visualization we show this comparison: the share of men with a substance use disorder is shown on the y-axis the share of women on the x-axis. The grey line represents parity: countries which lie along this line have equal prevalence in men and women. In countries which lie above the line, substance use disorders is more common in men.
Globally, alcohol or drug dependence was twice as common in men as in women: in 2016, 2.4% of men were dependent, versus 1.2% in women. Since all countries lie above the grey line, dependency is more common in men across the world.
Alcohol use vs. drug use disorders
Do countries with high rates of alcoholism also have high rates of other drug use disorders? Or does a high prevalence in one mean a low prevalence in the other?
Where Does Data Come From
Prior to 2020, NSDUH conducted face-to-face household interviews. Starting in 2020, NSDUH conducted both face-to-face household interviews and web-based interviews. NSDUH is representative of persons aged 12 and older in the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States and in each state and the District of Columbia. The survey covers residents of households , persons in noninstitutional group quarters , and civilians living on military bases. Persons excluded from the survey include individuals experiencing homelessness who do not use shelters, active military personnel, and residents of institutional group quarters such as jails, nursing homes, mental institutions, and long-term care hospitals.
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Can I Just Use Willpower To Stop Using Drugs
At first, taking drugs is usually your choice. But as you continue to take them, using self-control can become harder and harder this is the biggest sign of addiction. Brain studies of people with addiction show physical changes in parts of the brain that are very important for judgment, making decisions, learning and memory, and controlling behavior. Scientists have shown that when this happens to the brain, it changes how the brain works and it explains the harmful behaviors of addiction that are so hard to control.
Types Of Illicit Drugs
If you or someone in your life is caught in the grip of substance abuse, your experience is far from unusual. A 2012study by the DHS revealed an awful estimate that 23.9 million Americans over the age of 12 had used an illicit drug in the month predating the survey. That is almost 10 percent of all American adolescents and adults.
The most common illicit drugs in the United States include:
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The Most Common Illicit Substances Of Abuse
All psychoactive substances act on brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters. While each drug may focus on a different neurotransmitter to produce its effects, all psychoactive drugs cause a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure.
The most commonly abused illegal drugs are marijuana, opioids, central nervous system stimulants, and central nervous system sedatives.
What Makes People More Likely To Get Addicted To Drugs
- Trouble at home. If your home is an unhappy place, or was when you were growing up, you might be more likely to have a drug problem. When kids aren’t well cared for, or there are lots of fights, or a parent is using drugs, the chance of addiction goes up.
- Mental health problems. People who have untreated mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, or untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely to become addicted. They might use drugs to try to feel better.
- Trouble in school, trouble at work, trouble with making friends. Failures at school or work, or trouble getting along with people, can make life hard. You might use drugs to get your mind off these problems.
- Hanging around other people who use drugs. Friends or family members who use drugs might get you into trouble with drugs as well.
- Starting drug use when you’re young. When kids or teens use drugs, it affects how their bodies and brains finish growing. Using drugs when you’re young increases your chances of becoming addicted when you’re an adult.
- Your biology. Everyone’s bodies react to drugs differently. Some people like the feeling the first time they try a drug and want more. Other people hate how it feels and never try it again. Scientists dont have a test yet that will predict how each person will react.
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Signs Of Illicit Drug Misuse & Addiction
Children, teens, and adults are all at risk of illicit drug misuse and addiction. If you suspect your loved one is on drugs, there are signs to look for.
Symptoms of substance use disorder include one or more of the following symptoms within 12 months:
- Recurring substance use that causes the user to fail to fulfill significant role obligations at work, school, or home
- Regular substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous such as driving or operating heavy machinery
- Legal problems caused by substance use
- Continuing to use a substance despite social or interpersonal problems caused or made worse by the effects of the substance
In addition, if you suspect a teenager is abusing drugs or alcohol, look for the following signs:
- Sudden mood swings and changes in behavior
- Getting in trouble for misbehaving
- Getting in trouble with the police
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