ADDICTION: TEN MOST ABUSED DRUGS IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD
TEN MOST ABUSED DRUGS PICTURED
TEN MOST ABUSED DRUGS
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TEN MOST ABUSED DRUGS IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "The overall picture of drug abuse in the United States is constantly changing." There may also be some differences between those drugs most abused within the United States and those most abused throughout the world. Given the changing conditions of this phenomenon, and the difficulty involved in determining the frequency at which some drugs (legal, prescription) are actually abused, these are the best reports available.
Tobacco, nicotine, and cigarettes in general, are by far the most abused drugs in the world, with more than 46.5 million smokers within the United States alone. There are more than 400,000 deaths reported annually due to the use of tobacco and nicotine. The act of smoking adds to the danger of tobacco and nicotine addiction, for both smokers, and those breathing the smoke related to the habit.
Alcohol, a legal drug, is next in line in the order of drugs most abused. While small quantities of red wine can actually have health benefits, more than two drinks per day (men), and one drink per day (women), are related to the occurrence of cancer, and other serious disease. Traffic fatalities, domestic violence, child abuse, and liver disease are also related to alcohol abuse. Alcohol is also common at the scene of the crime in many murders, especially those between acquaintances and family members.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND MARIJUANA
There appears to be some conflict in the reports regarding which of these is number three on the list of most abused drugs, and which is number four. Marijuana has commonly been named as the most abused illegal drug in America and the world; however, prescription drug abuse is more difficult to detect since these drugs are purchased and stored legally, and often used abusively, as well as by those other than for whom they were prescribed.
OTC, or Over the Counter Drugs are commonly abused, and have been associated with the illegal production of methamphetamine in dangerous home labs. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are Opioid, analgesic drugs used to suppress physical pain. Abusers use them to experience numbness, sedation and euphoria. Depressants such as Valium, Xanax, and Librium are also abused for their sadating effects, and are often abused by those for whom they are prescribed. Stimulant prescription drug abuse is also common of Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Meridia, for their euphoric effects.
Baby boomers, now beginning to age, create a special problem, since many are already drug abusers, now being prescribed additional drugs for medical reasons. It is feared that drug interactions will cause physical problems, as well as intefere with the appropriate diagnosis of doctors who are unaware of the drug abuse of their patients. According to reports made by the Substance Abuse Administration, which regularly queries Americans on their drug and alcohol use, of 20,000 adults aged 50-59, 5.2 percent had used marijuana within the past year, and 2.9 percent had taken prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them, most often painkillers. This report does not even include those who abused drugs that were prescribed to them, a figure that would definitely increase the percentages reported here. One problem with senior citizens using drugs is that the physiology of the body slows down as one ages, thus processing abusive drugs out of the body will not happen as quickly as it did when they were younger.
Another problem population related to prescription drugs and marijuana are today's youth. Most parents are aware of at least some of the dangers of cannabis, though many do not realize how much stronger it is today, than in the sixties. Parents are often totally unaware; however, of the number of young people using prescription medications abusively, a problem compounded by the fact that the drugs abused are usually those of the parents involved. Teens find and use drugs left in medicine cabinets and forgotten, and share them with their friends. It is difficult to know how many prescription drugs are being abused, because they are prescribed legally by doctors. Still, of all drugs, alcohol remains the number one abused drug by youth in America, and the world, and its accessibility is also obvious.
Probably the fifth most abused drug in the world, and the most abused of stimulant drugs, methamphetamine is often used initially to suppress appetite, but is used most commonly for increased energy, alertness, and euphoria. Extended use causes days of wakefulness and increased physical activity, hyper-sexual behavior, delusions of paranoia, destruction of tooth enamel, gum disease, and convulsions that can be fatal. The drug is highly addictive, and many effected insist addiction began the first moment it was used.
Similar in its effects to methamphetamine, these tablets are easily the sixth most abused drugs in the world. They are easily available and used to promote positive feelings and extreme relaxation. They are also the choice drugs at rave parties, used for all night stimulation. Often called the hug-drug, or love-drug, they have also been associated with date rape.
Once considered the number one drug problem, crack cocaine has fallen to number seven on the list. Well known for its euphoric effects, crack causes restricted blood vessels, increased temperature, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Like methamphetamine and other stimulant drugs, it can lead to cardiac arrest, and death.
Once thought of as the ultimate in drug addiction, heroin now ranks number eight in the list of most abused drugs. This illegal drug is found everywhere in powder form, and is usually snorted, freebased, or injected into the veins, after being melted to liquid form in a spoon by a lighted match, cigarette lighter or fire from a gas stove. Heroin is highly addictive, and causes severe cramps during withdrawal, known as cold turkey.
Sometimes referred to as human growth hormones, steroids are used most often by athletes, hoping to improve or increase their performance. Body builders commonly use the drug to enhance the appearance of muscle mass. Use of steroids is not allowed in most sports events, and urine tests are conducted in an attempt to eliminate its use; however, they are only partially successful. Steroids can cause depression, and violent behavior in those who abuse them. Steroids are number nine on the list of most abused drugs.
Inhalants are actually products common in every household and office. Such products as magic markers, aerosol cans, nail polish, cleaning solutions, glue, plastic cement, and even gasoline, can become inhalants. These are used mainly by very young individuals who wish to get high, but do not have access to other drugs.
NOTES TO THE READER
It is important to remember that drug use is not a static event, and is an ever changing one; therefore, these drugs can change in order of most abused at any time. As a concerned citizen, it is important to keep up with the changing nature of drug use in your country, and in the world.
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