Drug abuse in the US continues to rise at an alarming rate. A 2018 report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that overall drug overdose deaths rose by 9.6% from the year before, and deaths involving synthetic opioids increased by 45% in the same time period. Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the country from 1999-2017 with no end in sight for the epidemic.

Almost all drugs cause sensations of pleasure or euphoria if abused, leading the user to continue chasing a “high” even as they put themselves at risk by increasing the dosage. Whenever we feel a pleasurable experience, a burst of dopamine is released in the brain that signals something important is happening — something that needs to be repeated again. This makes it easy for people to form a drug habit quickly, even while they think they have their usage under control.  

Most Commonly Abused Drugs

The names may change, but the problem remains. Drugs go in and out of fashion just like clothing, with some enjoying status as perennial favorites. What are some of the most commonly abused drugs? Let’s explore with some facts from drugfree.org.


The effects of cocaine are almost immediate due to the fact that it’s a stimulant. Many take it for the huge energy boost it provides to become more productive. A tolerance is built much faster with cocaine than with other drugs, putting the user at severe risk for health complications when increasing the dose. 

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Also a synthetic opioid, fentanyl is an extremely dangerous painkiller that can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Street dealers have been known to add fentanyl to other drugs in order to get users hooked. It can be sold as pills, nasal spray, powder, or eye droppers.

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A powerful drug derived from morphine, heroin is the only illegal opioid on the streets that can’t be obtained by a prescription. Many users become addicted to prescription opioids they get from their doctor before upgrading to a stronger high with heroin. Withdrawal symptoms are severe, forcing users to stay on it for longer.

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Another powerful stimulant, meth gives a similar energy high to cocaine, thanks to a large dopamine release in the brain. The most well-known version is crystal meth, a distilled and stronger version. Withdrawal periods can be intense with meth (including severe depression) and typically require medical assistance.

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Opioids/Prescription Painkillers

Over 130 people died daily from opioid overdose from 2016 to 2017, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. During that same period, more than 11 million people abused prescription opioids. But chronic use or misuse of opioids can result in physical dependence and addiction. The epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and abuse has also led to increased use of heroin.

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Sobering Statistics About Drug Abuse

  • Approximately 7 million people suffered from addiction issues related to opioids as of 2017, according to drugabuse.gov.
  • According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, there were 47,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 alone.
  • The CDC report also shows that fentanyl plays a key role in the opioid epidemic that can be traced back to 2013.
  • The same report highlighted a huge 400% increase in heroin overdose deaths from 2010 to 2017.
  • Heroin users are more likely to have used prescription opioids first.
  • The latest National Survey on Drug Abuse revealed 40.6 million U.S. citizens over the age of 12 admitted to using cocaine at least once in their life

Effects of Drug Addiction

Addiction can lead to a number of health issues and mental disorders that weren’t present prior to using. If addictive behaviors and the trauma behind it is left untreated, the user may suffer, and his/her family and friends may suffer as well. Substance abuse disorders can result in serious health issues, loss of job, removal from school, and the distance of loved ones. While these drugs bring short-term relief, prolonged drug use only makes problems worse because the wounds at the root of the problem have yet to heal. When users are able to realize their unhealthy condition and the damage they are capable of causing to their own lives and others, they have the clarity to ask for help.

Effects of Drug Addiction

Drug Rehab at The Meadows Malibu

The Meadows Malibu is nestled along the coast in scenic California. We provide a peaceful and nurturing environment to address past traumas and begin your healing. We provide detox services, individual and group therapy, neurofeedback, and numerous holistic offerings. The path to recovery begins by asking for help.

We offer medical detox supervised 24/7 by our team of nurses and technicians to address withdrawal symptoms. We treat every drug addiction side by side with any underlying mental health conditions that may be feeding into the need for drug rehab, giving patients an excellent chance at turning their life around. 

Please visit our webpages to see if The Meadows Malibu is the right setting for you or your loved one, and then contact us today.

Call 833-757-5696