Know the Risks of Using Drugs
Drug use—including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, as well as prescription drug misuse and illicit opioids—among adults is on the rise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased drug use.
Different drugs pose different dangers. Drug use can lead to dependence and addiction, injury and accidents, health problems, sleep issues, and more. Drug use affects you and those close to you. Know there is help.
Do you or someone you know hide their drugs?
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The Risks are Real
The pressures on adults are real. Building careers, buying homes, getting married, having kids, and trying to do it all well comes with a lot of pressure. COVID-19 has magnified the stress. Some turn to drugs to cope. Just because some drugs are legal, doesn’t mean they are less dangerous.
Over time, the regular or habitual use of drugs becomes a crutch and only adds to the stress. Drugs can also cause other harms, including:
- Cocaine: Highly addictive, cocaine is involved in nearly one in five overdose deaths; its health effects include asthma, bowel decay, and increased risk of HIV.
- Methamphetamine (Meth): Meth causes devastating health effects, and sometimes death, even on the first try. Meth speeds up the body’s systems to dangerous levels. Chronic users experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, and more.
- Prescription and illicit opioids: Highly addictive, the substances are the top cause of overdose deaths; health effects include confusion, nausea, constipation, coma, and brain damage.
- Marijuana: Even though it is legal in many states, studies link marijuana use to various negative outcomes.
Before the risks become real and before drugs turn your life—and your family—upside down, know there is help. You can quit.
The Rise of Drug Use for Adults Ages 26-49
While young adults ages 18-25 have the highest rates of drug use across the board, drug use among adults ages 26-49 is on the rise:
- The percentage of adults age 26 and older using marijuana daily or almost daily has nearly doubled since 2015.
- Cocaine use and death rates have risen; cocaine-involved overdose rates in the U.S. have risen annually since 2012.
- Meth use is on the rise and overdose death rates climbed more than five-fold for those ages 25 to 54 between 2011 and 2018.
- The nation remains in a prescription and illicit opioids crisis, as 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S.—the highest single year ever reported—in the 12 months ending in May 2020; most of the overdose deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
If you, or someone you know, needs help with drug use or prescription drug misuse, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, or text your zip code to 435748 (HELP4U), or use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to get help.
References and Relevant Resources:
- Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health | SAMHSA
- Step by Step Guides to Finding Treatment for Drug Use Disorders If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Drug Use and Addiction | Medline Plus
- Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts | NIDA
- Prescription Opioids DrugFacts | NIDA
- Learn About Methamphetamine | SAMHSA
- Learn About Marijuana Risks | SAMHSA
- Resources for Families Coping with Mental and Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA
- Increase in Fatal Drug Overdose Across the United States Driven by Synthetic Opioids Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)