Substance Abuse in Pennsylvania

Individuals who abuse drugs such as alcohol, cocaine and opiates do so for many different reasons. However, for decades communities all across the US have experienced a dramatic increase in cases of drug abuse and addiction as a result of drug abuse. As Society as a whole pays a hefty price. The result of drug abuse is commonly linked to the rise in hospital emergency room admissions, drug related crimes, and the booming jail populations. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined, use of other drugs such as heroin and prescription narcotics has steadily increased.

Most substances abusers believe they can stop using drugs on their own, but a majority who try do not succeed. Research shows that long-term drug use alters brain function and strengthens compulsions to use drugs. This craving continues even after drug use stops.

Because of these ongoing cravings, the most important component of treatment is preventing relapse. Treating substance abuse depends on both the person and the substance being used. Behavioral treatment provides you with strategies to cope with your drug cravings and ways to avoid relapse. Your doctor may prescribe medications such as nicotine patches and methadone to control withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Often, a drug user has an underlying mental disorder, which often increases risk for substance abuse in the person’s lifetime. Such disorders must be treated medically and through substance abuse counseling in a comprehensive treatment program to address the underlying problems that led to substance abuse in the first place.

More than half the economic cost of alcohol and drugs is due to crime. A substance abuser is 18 times more likely to be involved in criminal activity than someone in the general population. Many violent crimes have been linked to the mind-altering effects of drugs. Substance abusers often commit thefts to support their drug habits, and drugs and alcohol have been linked to domestic violence and sexual assault. At colleges, 75% of date rapes are alcohol-related. Among jailed sex offenders, 43% say they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their crime.

Most addictive substances have both long and short-term health consequences, while a single use can cause significant harm to the body, such as heroin and alcohol intoxication. In addition to the immediate effects on the user’s health, drugs produce other indirect effects that are not seen or experienced until weeks or even months later, such as tolerance building and heart problems. Many drugs lessen inhibitions and increase the likelihood that a person will participate in risky behavior. Studies show that the use of alcohol and drugs among teenagers increases chances for teen pregnancy and contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Up to 75% of injured people treated at emergency departments test positive for illicit or prescription drugs. Alcohol is strongly associated with both intentional and unintentional injury. Drug use also puts people at risk of violence. There comes a point when it's time to admit you have a substance abuse problem and need help. Contact one of our professional counselors and find out what it will take to regain control over your life and achieve long lasting sobriety and start feeling happy again.

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