Inspire Malibu Drug Abuse Treatment

About Drug Abuse

Drug Use Stats

According to the latest United States government data, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older (9.2 percent of the population) used an illicit drug in the past month. These numbers reflect a rise of 8.3% since ten years ago. Marijuana use and abuse had the most significant increase at 7.3%.

Number of Users in the U.S. in the past month:

  • Marijuana 19 million
  • Prescription medications 6.5 million
  • Cocaine 1.6 million
  • Hallucinogens 1.1 million
  • Inhalants 0.5 million
  • Heroin 0.3 million

       total 24 million

About Marijuana Use and Abuse

Marijuana, genetically known as Cannabis sativa, comes from the hemp plant. Its leaves and flowers contain the mind-altering substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The dried leaves and flowers are often smoked in large rolled cigarettes to gain the desired feelings they produce. It can also be refined down into resin, known as hash oil.

Although marijuana is a potentially addictive substance, two states (Colorado and Washington) have recently legalized marijuana for adult recreational use. It is the most commonly used drug in the United States by almost a ratio of 3 to 1. More and more states have legalized “medicinal marijuana,” using marijuana for its potential medical purposes. Today’s new strains of marijuana are far more potent than in previous years.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is, in fact, very addictive. The research clearly indicates close to 10 percent of all marijuana users eventually become addicted. In keeping with the criteria for a drug being addictive, long-term marijuana users who try and quit experience significant withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and serious drug cravings. more

Prescription Medication

Prescription medications and Over-the-counter (OTC) abuse is America’s second-highest category of abused drugs.

Prescription abuse is defined as anyone who takes a medication that was not prescribed to them or is taking them in more significant quantities other than they were prescribed. Prescription drug abuse occurs when a medication is used in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed. Abuse can also include the following:

  • Taking a medication prescribed for someone else
  • Taking a larger dose than prescribed
  • Ingesting a medication in a way other than recommended (snorting, smoking, or injecting)
  • Using medication to get high

Prescription drug abuse falls into these three categories:

Opioids (pain relievers)
Vicodin, OxyContin

Stimulants (for ADHD)
Adderall, Ritalin

Central Nervous System Depressants (anxiety meds)
Xanax, Valium

Over-the-counter cold medications, which contain alcohol or dextromethorphan, are also abused by some people.


Cocaine is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant. It is produced from the coca plant leaves, grown mainly in South America. Cocaine is often “snorted” up the nose and absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissue, also it can be injected or smoked. Smoking cocaine in a rock-like substance called Crack Cocaine.

Although cocaine abuse is not as prevalent as other drugs, it is very addictive and can be fatal from a heart attack, stroke, or arrested breathing. Long-term use can cause serious health problems and completely alter a person’s brain chemistry.


Although not as widespread or publicized, hallucinogen abuse is a significant and growing problem in the United States. Used for their mind-altering effects, they have a long history of use in religious and cultural rituals worldwide. Hallucinogens generally fall into the following four categories.

  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Psilocybin
  • PCP


More prevalent among teenagers, inhalants are a growing drug abuse problem. Products that are readily found around the house, such as paint, glue, aerosols, and cleaning solvents, all have mind-altering properties and, therefore, the potential for abuse. Also known as “huffing,” most inhalants can cause slurred speech, lightheadedness, and delusions. The effects are similar to those of alcohol.


Heroin is an opioid (in the opiate family) synthesized from morphine. Usually it is a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance. Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 0.4% (or about 1.1 million people) reported using heroin in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1)  by injecting, snorting, or smoking. Heroin is a highly addictive substance and it can cause serious health problems and often causes death by overdose. In 2021, approximately 9,173 people died from an overdose involving heroin.

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