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Drug and Alcohol Information

Illicit Drugs​

Know Illicit Drugs are.

How Illicit Drugs affect you

Illicit drugs are highly addictive and illegal drugs that are known to cause an array of mental and behavioral issues depending on the level of use. A few examples of illicit drugs are cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, inhalants, ketamine, and marijuana. The most common being heroin, meth and marijuana. These drugs are classified as depressants, narcotics and hallucinogens and can be identified by many different slang and street terms and names. The names coke, crack, dope, grass and reefer are all different names for cocaine, heroine and marijuana. The use of the drugs is to produce a sort of mind-numbing feeling that many use as an escape from their daily problems and stress or are used due to an addiction created after repeated use over time. Many individuals that abuse the drugs and casual users are introduced to these drugs through social situations where one or multiple of the said users’ friends or acquaintances will convince them to try it or they will seek them out due to their own curiosity.

Illicit Drugs

Signs & Symptoms

illicit drugs in America | Addiction Treatment Helper

Signs and Symptoms

The effects illicit drugs have on the lives of those who abuse the drugs can be severe at times. Those who abuse the drug and become addicted are not the only ones affected by the drugs; the loved ones of the individual who are addicted to drugs are also affected. Those who abuse illicit drugs can suffer from their addictions by coming in late to work or just skipping out on work entirely. They also suffer from a lack of motivation and an inability to stay on task, keep up with daily responsibilities, or even maintain their social standings by keeping up with social obligations. These types of behaviors can lead to financial troubles and at worst legal troubles if not handled with addiction treatment.

There are ways someone can identify an addiction is by noticing the signs a person gives either passively of voluntarily. Those who are addicted to these types of drugs can suffer from cravings and withdrawal if they go to long without the drug or if they attempt to quit. But even after straining relationships with loved ones, some may find that it is very difficult to quit and can relapse frequently. Ones addiction can be time consuming and will cause those who are addicted to give up old pleasures and responsibilities just to satisfy their addictions. Those suffering from an extreme addiction can develop mental problems like depression and can find themselves taking larger doses over time.  

Illicit drugs Effects on the Body

The effects illicit drugs have on the body can very from drug to drug, but there are side effects that almost all of them can produce. Changes in appetite are the most commonly known side effect given the popularity of marijuana in the U.S. It is among the most well know drugs and produces the most well-known side effect. Other side effects can include an increase or decrease in heart rate and/or blood pressure, which can lead to many negative problems like wakefulness, stokes, or heart attacks. Other effects have been correlated with the use of the drugs like lung disease and cancer due to the nature of smoking the substances. Other diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis are also known to affect abusers largely impart to those who share needles and other items involved in injections. Illicit drugs can cause mental problems like depression and psychosis too. This is why they are mainly classified as hallucinogens and depressants. People will find that the drugs will remain detectable in the system for one to three days depending on the drug.

Like all drugs there is a chance to overdose on illicit drugs and the effects are varied depending on the types the person abuses. On one hand a person could experience mental effects like disorientation, paranoia, agitation, violent behavior, or seizures and on the other some could suffer from more physical problems like nausea, an abnormally high body temperature, difficulty breathing, unsteady walking, dilated pupils, or blue lips or fingers. It is very easy to overdose on these drugs due to the inability to determine an appropriate dosage because of the legal standing on many of these drugs. Ones’ tolerance for the drug varies from person to person and in the worst cases and cause someone to become unconscious and unresponsive, which can lead to death. Many people who also are in recovery from substances such as opiates, many times overdose when a relapse happens because their tolerance is depleted. 

Those suffering from an extreme addiction can develop mental problems like depression and can find themselves taking larger doses over time.

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Effects on the Body

Illicit drugs are some of them most commonly used drugs in America. With the most predominant classification being marijuana users aged 12 and up, the number of users back in 2013 were 19.8 million and 14.5 million back in 2007. The number of meth users has also been increasing. Back in 2010 the number was around 353,000 and has risen all the way up to 595,000 in 2013. In the same year, the number of illicit drug users was recorded and was discovered to have over half of its new users being the ages of 18 and younger. Having 54% of the new users be 18 and younger is a huge portion of new users. The combined total was 2.8 million new users, so at more than half of that, we have a huge portion of the youth in America using some kind of illicit drug.

In 2018 a study was conducted by the NSDUH and they had found that the number of illicit drug users had been increasing due to the rising popularity of marijuana. Illicit drug users had been totaled at about 53.2 million for the ages of 12 and up. Marijuana was totaled at 43.5 million with misused prescription drugs sitting at 16.3 million. Behind that was hallucinogens at 5.6 million and then cocaine at 5.5 million. Meth was totaled at 1.9 million with heroin at 808,000 right behind it.

The way people have been obtaining these drugs has also been recorded. The most common is through friends or relative with 55.7% of people receiving them that way. 19.1% of people had procured them from a doctor with 3.9% getting them from strangers and 0.1% buying them online.

Illicit Drugs

National Statistics


of americans

Use Heroin

1.9 Million

of Americans

Are Using Meth


of people

Get their drugs from a friend or family member.

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