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Drug misuse is defined as “the use of a substance for a purpose not consistent with legal or medical guidelines.” There are different ways that an individual could misuse drugs. Using any illicit substance is considered drug misuse. Alcohol misuse occurs when an individual ingests large and unhealthy amounts of alcohol. The NIAAA defines alcohol abuse as a “pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.” There are a variety of ways to misuse prescription medications. Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person abuses a medication that was prescribed to them by a medical professional or takes prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them at all. When a person takes more medication than prescribed, mixes the medication with other drugs, ingests the medication in a way other than prescribed (e.g., crushing and snorting a pill that is meant to be swallowed), and taking the medication more frequently than prescribed all exemplify different ways prescription drug abuse may occur.

What To Do

One of the most effective ways to prevent the misuse of drugs is to increase awareness surrounding the repercussions of substance abuse. Habitual use of any substance can lead to increased tolerance, meaning an individual will require more of the substance (e.g., higher dosage, frequency of use, etc.) to achieve the same feeling. When a drug that one’s body has become accustomed to functioning with is absent or has less of the substance in his or her system, it will react accordingly and be unable to function optimally. An individual that is unable to stop abusing a substance without experiencing withdrawal symptoms has developed some level of dependence. The longer an individual struggles with drug dependence and continues to misuse substances, the greater his or her risk is for developing severe short and long-term complications.

On a macro level, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that to address and effectively prevent drug misuse it “demands a multi-sectoral response including public health, law enforcement, education, and social policy.” It is important to note that governing entities are working together to combat this universal issue. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which is recognized as the leading UN entity for countering the world drug problem, is currently working closely with the WHO to tend to the public health and human rights dimensions of global issues related to drugs. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.