People use and abuse substances for a variety of reasons. Some may take drugs or alcohol to experience euphoria or relaxation. Others may take drugs for their stimulant effects, or to numb unpleasant emotions.
Most substances with the potential for abuse are also capable of causing permanent health problems, and this includes illicit and legal substances. Substances that are dangerous are not necessarily illegal. Prescription drugs and alcohol are legal, but abusing them comes with potentially serious consequences. Tobacco is also legal, but the health consequences of using it are well documented.
Nearly all substances that produce intoxication are addictive. Once people become addicted, they can find it very difficult to quit using those substances. Even though they may be aware of the negative health consequences of using substances, they are unable to resist the cravings to use them. Many people who suffer from addiction essentially lose control of their lives. Their overriding concern is getting and taking more of the substance to which they have an addiction.
Dangerous substances affect people in many negative ways. People who are under the influence of substances are unable to think clearly and logically, and they may take risks that can be potentially fatal, such as driving under the influence or using unsterilized needles. More than 50 percent of deaths attributed to traffic accidents involve alcohol.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tens of thousands of Americans die each year from drug overdoses. For example, more than 10,000 people died from heroin overdose in 2014. In the same year, more than 5,000 people died from cocaine overdose, and more than 25,000 people from overdosing on prescription drugs.1
Commonly Abused Dangerous Substances
Prescription painkillers and stimulants are among the most widely abused substances. Despite the tightening of regulations governing the issuing and dispensing of prescriptions, abuse is still widespread.
- Crack cocaine
Less well-known substances that are commonly abused include:
All of these drugs are inherently dangerous and potentially fatal.2
When people develop an addiction, they are unlikely to get well without the kind of expert help that rehab facilities provide. Rehab treatment programs help people to understand the key issues related to their illness. Taking substances is often a response to various stimuli or triggers, and therapy can help people to recognize these negative responses. During therapy, people learn how to develop positive responses that do not include substance abuse.
When people are addicted to dangerous substances, they face a very difficult task in getting and remaining sober. However, it is possible to do so with the right kind of help and support. If you have an addiction problem, now is the time to take action and seek out the help you need.