Coping with drug abuse
Substance misuse isn't something to take lightly and it affects a large percentage of people in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the year 2013 24.6 million Americans ages 12 and older - which is just under 10 percent of the population - had used illegal drugs in the past month which equates to an 8.3 percent increase from 2002 to 2013.
What is drug abuse?
Abuse of drugs occurs when someone regularly uses illegal drugs or misuses over-the-counter or prescription drugs. It can lead to a variety of negative consequences in his or her life. Such consequences may include trouble with the law financial difficulties injuries and health problems. When an addict doesn't get help the repercussions can be even more dire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S.
Effects on relationships and jobs
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy couples with a drug-abusing partner are often unhappy and prone to arguing - sometimes violently. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence notes that drug use can negatively affect work performance: Although about 70 percent of Americans who use illegal drugs are employed they end up costing employers $81 billion annually due to absenteeism and other performance issues.
Effects on communities
In recent years heroin abuse has impacted many parts of the country and has drastically increased. The CDC reports that annual death rates from heroin abuse nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2013. When abused heroin and other drugs can lead to vehicle crashes and physical abuse according to NIDA. NIDA also notes that drug use is associated with homelessness and crime.
Drug use during pregnancy
Because many illicit drugs are highly addictive some mothers continue to use such drugs while pregnant. Illegal drugs are especially unsafe for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. The American Pregnancy Association reports that abusing illicit drugs during pregnancy can cause miscarriage premature labor low birth weight separation of the placenta from the uterine wall death of the baby and even death of the mother. NIDA notes that there may be as many as 45000 babies born to cocaine-abusing mothers annually that these babies are more likely to need special education services at school and that the majority of child abuse and neglect cases involve substance abuse by a parent. The American Pregnancy Association warns that when a pregnant woman uses certain drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine the baby can become addicted in utero. When the baby is born and no longer receiving the drugs through its mother it might begin to go into withdrawal.
How to get help
Fortunately drug addiction is a treatable disease notes NIDA. If you or someone you love is addicted to illegal drugs or abusing prescription medications call your health care provider. He or she can refer you to drug treatment programs and support groups. Know that drug addition often cannot be overcome without professional help. Be supportive and understanding of loved ones who are abusing drugs - and help them find a reputable health care provider. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry website offers a directory of trained addiction psychiatrists which may be a good place to start.