Whether they’re illicit or prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, mood-altering substances can be physically and psychologically additive and change the actual chemical makeup of a person’s brain.

No one starts experimenting with drugs with the idea that they’ll end up struggling with full-fledged drug addiction. The justifications all make sense in the moment — it’s just for pain relief, a little buzz, an escape, mindless fun at a party. They’ll never become a statistic.

How dependency works is drugs over-activate the brain’s reward center, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). With the passage of time and continued use, drug addiction makes it difficult for someone to feel any kind of pleasure without using the substance.

If that reality wasn’t scary enough, drug addiction can have a significant impact on key organs including the heart, liver, and lungs and hinder cognitive development, depress respiration, cause seizures, and in some cases, lead to cardiac arrest.


Cocaine, a stimulant derived from coca leaves, has highly addictive properties.

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Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used for severe pain treatment, is 100 times more potent than morphine.

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Heroin is an illegal, powerfully addictive opioid drug with no medical application.

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Methamphetamine (“meth”) is a central nervous system stimulant with highly addictive and damaging effects.

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Opioids/Prescription Painkillers

The perceived safety of prescription opioid drugs causes many to underestimate their potency and abuse potential.

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Breaking It Down

Thanks in no small part to the abundance of legal prescription drugs, drug addiction is on the rise. In 2017, more than 11 million people misused prescription drugs with 62 percent reporting that alleviating physical pain was their reason for using too much. Additionally, it’s been estimated that 2.1 million people have an opioid use disorder, and of those, 1.7 million are users of prescription pain relievers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdoses claimed more than 70,000 lives in 2017 with roughly 30.5 million Americans over the age of 12 falling into the category of illicit drug users. Of the 30.5, two out of three Americans are using marijuana, which remains a frequent gateway drug of choice, second only to alcohol. More than half of new illicit drug users begin with marijuana, according to drugabuse.gov. Next most common are prescription pain relievers, followed by inhalants (which is most common among younger teens), they report, citing the 2015 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Illicit Drug Use Fast Facts

  • In 2013, an estimated 9.4 percent of the population in the US had used an illicit drug in the past month.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug.
  • In 2013, 6.5 million Americans 12 or older had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month.
  • Most people use drugs for the first time when they are teenagers. There were just over 2.8 million new users of illicit drugs in 2013, or about 7,800 new users per day. Over half were under 18 years of age.
  • More than half of new illicit drug users begin with marijuana. Next most common are prescription pain relievers, followed by inhalants (which is most common among younger teens).
  • Drug use is highest among people in their late teens and twenties. In 2013, 22.6 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds reported using an illicit drug in the past month.
  • Drug use is increasing among people in their 50s and early 60s. This increase is, in part, due to the aging of the baby boomers, whose rates of illicit drug use have historically been higher than those of previous generations.

SOURCE: drugabuse.gov

Marijuana drug abuse

Forging Forward

Drug addiction isn’t an issue anyone should take lightly, and at The Meadows Texas, comprehensive healing for every patient is the goal.

Not only is medically supervised detox utilized to keep withdrawal symptoms under control and as prevention from getting worse, but in addition to the treatment of drug addiction, our caring team of experts also focuses on any underlying mental health conditions that may be perpetuating substance abuse. This strategy helps promotes long-term recovery, rather than a quick fix with an emphasis on overall wellness.

Get answers to your questions

If you or a loved one would like to know more about treatment at The Meadows Texas, please give us a call to speak to one of our trained intake coordinators for assistance.

Call 833-757-5697