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While it is nearly impossible to measure the exact consumption of drugs in the country, common knowledge tells us that substance abuse is an increasing problem in the United States. In fact, it has been a problem on the rise for a long time now. From bathrooms to the street corners to even schools, the drug abuse problem has tarnished every part of the culture in the United States. The best possible estimates that we have about the drug problem and where it stands are through the national data provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These figures provide us a more trustworthy estimate of the amount of people using the most abused drugs in the United States.
The numbers from 2012 saw marijuana to be considered the most commonly used illegal substance in the country. The situation has changed, however. With over 19 million active users of marijuana by estimates, it is still one of the most commonly used substances in the country. The only difference is that it is no longer considered to be an illicit substance as it once was. The legalization movement has resulted in the legalization of marijuana across several states in the country but it is still federally considered to be illegal.
Marijuana causes impairment in the perception of time and space due to its psychoactive properties and it can cause a stimulated appetite. While it is considered to relax a person, it can also instill the sensation of detachment in an individual, which can lead to dire consequences.
Benzodiazepines are powerful sedative drugs and barbiturates are tranquilizers. Both of these drugs act on the central nervous system in a person’s body in manners similar to alcohol. Benzodiazepines like Alprazolam and Lorazepam are some of the most commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs. According to the figures released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, over 2.4 million of the people that resorting to substance abuse using benzodiazepines are actually nonmedical users that obtain the powerful sedatives through illegal means.
As part of the family of depressive medication, benzodiazepines are typically used to treat anxiety disorders. There are several medications that come under the umbrella of benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax and Valium. Drug abuse problems involving the use of benzodiazepines can become a serious and potentially life threatening problem.
Nearly 1.6 million people in the United States use this powerful stimulant with over 1.1 million of these people being badly addicted to it. It is a very powerful illegal substance, which has caused a lot of devastation across the world in terms of the number of lives lost. More commonly known as coke, this drug instills a sense of euphoria, elation and a false sense of invincibility in the user.
It also causes an extreme sensitivity to any kind of stimulus and heightens the alertness of an individual. The high is short-lived that barely lasts 30 minutes but from the moment it wears off, the user wants to have more to get that sensation of invincibility, euphoria and elation. This means that the tolerance levels for the use of cocaine buildups quite fast and there can never be enough cocaine that can satiate the desire of someone addicted to it.
Methamphetamines are a very powerful and addictive stimulant drug. They give users a high that can last a lot longer than that from cocaine since it is way more potent than cocaine. While estimates show that the number of methamphetamine users in the United States is less than 500,000, the actual number of people addicted to the drug might be much higher.
This powerful drug can cause a host of different problems to the brain and the body of the person that is addicted to using it. Some of the effects on the brain by methamphetamines are immediate, while some of the effects take place over the course of time as an individual continues to use the drug. Problems like cognitive impairment, delusional disorders because of paranoia and extreme aggression are just some of the effects of methamphetamines on the brain.
Physically, it can even cause the face of substance abusers to change so badly that they can become almost completely unrecognizable. The changes can happen over a matter of years to just a few months, depending on the severity of the drug abuse problem.
5. Hallucinogen Drugs
There is a plethora of different hallucinogenic drugs that people in the United States are using now. Some of the most prominent ones include the likes of PCP, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms and ecstasy. Based on the figures by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, over 1.1 million hallucinogens are used in the country.
Ecstasy, in particular, is a highly addictive drug, which is also referred to as MDMA or by the street name “Molly”. It shares some attributes with amphetamines and different hallucinogenic drugs to instill both sensory-altering and stimulant drug effects on an individual. It is most commonly associated with the party culture.
The short-term problems associated with ecstasy are anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, memory impairment, suppressed appetite, aggression and impulsive behavior. While it is rare, an overdose of ecstasy can also lead to death due to kidney failure. The long-term effects of ecstasy include memory loss, increased aggressive behavior (even when not using the drug), increased impulsive activity, inability to pay attention and a lot of confusion in day-to-day life.
LSD is one of the strongest hallucinogenic drugs known to man. While it can disrupt the proper functioning of an individual’s brain in the short-term, it’s also known to have completely life-altering effects on users as well. It is a potent hallucinogen, which changes the user’s perception of reality. There are several risks involved with the use of LSD.
LSD disrupts the way in which your nerve cells and neurotransmitters send and receive serotonin. By disrupting the normal functioning of the human brain, the visual judgment can become extremely impaired. LSD users also experience rapid mood swings and heightened feelings. High doses of the substance can cause hallucinations and delusional episodes in the user. The changes in one’s perception, especially hallucinations, can become very frightening for the person using the drug, thereby leading to terrifying thoughts, fear of insanity, fear of death and feelings of despair. Losing a grip on reality in such a manner can cause a person to become more prone to fatal accidents.
Some of the long-term effects of LSD include flashbacks, replaying of thoughts and events that happened while being high on the drug. With frequent use of the drug, the number of flashbacks can increase, causing a condition called the Hallucinogen Induced Persisting Perceptual Disorder. It can completely debilitate an individual.
The Need for Drug Tests
With the increasing problem of substance abuse across the board in the United States, it is becoming a necessity for authorities to ramp up their efforts when it comes to apprehending the people abusing drugs. Drug testing programs should become more common in every industry where there is a risk of safety involved. Industries like construction, jobs involving driving vehicles and the ones that involve the handling of hazardous materials need to make extra efforts to conduct drug tests and ensure safe working environments.
Through the use of drug testing programs, better safety can be assured in different industries. In fact, employers across industries can capitalize on more advantages that drug testing programs bring to them. A safer working environment will also make the company less liable for any workplace accidents that may arise. Since drug testing programs discourage the use of drugs, employees are more likely and inclined to be efficient at work. If there are no drugs impairing their ability to work, they will automatically become more productive during the work hours.
While a large number of company owners might feel that taking on workplace drug testing programs can cost a lot, it is a necessary measure. Other than the fact that workplace drug testing is an additional expense for them, the issue is that the process can be time-taking. Luckily, there are new and improved drug testing methods like the instant drug testing apparatus by Ovus Medical, which is capable of detecting the use of drugs within minutes of the submission of the sample. Another advantage that instant drug testing gives to employers is that it will cost them a lot less than standard laboratory based-drug testing due to the fact that it involves simpler and effective methods of detection. No more waiting for weeks to get results from the laboratory!