Drug Addiction

Breaking down the dangers of illicit substances and prescription meds

What is Drug Addiction?

Whether it’s an escape from physical pain, something to help a college student stay awake during finals week, or that elusive pill to “take the edge off” after a stressful day, most people who experiment with drugs don’t envision a future battle with full-blown addiction. They see it as a temporary vice, something they can easily stop with enough willpower.

But what’s often not factored into that mindset is how incredibly addictive these substances are. The longer and more consistently they’re used, the easier it is to lose control. “Mind over matter” is simply no match for a drug’s ability to alter brain chemistry and produce that high.

Prescription Drugs

The perceived safety of prescription opioid drugs causes many to underestimate their potency and abuse potential.

 Cocaine Addiction


Cocaine, a stimulant derived from coca leaves, has highly addictive properties.

 fentanyl addiction


Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used for severe pain treatment, is 100 times more potent than morphine.

 heroin addiction


Heroin is an illegal, powerfully addictive opioid drug with no medical application.

 Methamphetamine addiction


Methamphetamine (“meth”) is a central nervous system stimulant with highly addictive and damaging effects.

 Treatment for Drug Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders - Claudia Black Center for Young Adults


There are many dangers related to marijuana use — especially for the developing teenage brain.

How It Works

When a drug has been taken regularly, a tolerance inevitably builds up. The feel-good center of the brain gets used to the substance’s presence, and to achieve the same high, the dosage needs to increase. As a result, the brain and body begin to “need” the drug just to feel normal.

Without it, someone can feel sick, irritable, unproductive, and anxious. While it’s possible to successfully juggle substance abuse and regular responsibilities for a time, it’s not something that can go untreated for the long haul. Drug addiction not only wreaks havoc on relationships and job performance, it can have a significant negative impact on major organs and important bodily functions.

drugs and the brain

The Stats on Drug Addiction

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in opioid-related deaths, particularly from fentanyl.
  • Drug overdose deaths in the United States rosev 6% in 2019 to 70,980, including 50,042 involving opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Deaths from drugs rose an average of 13% from mid-2019 to July 2020, according to The New York Times.
  • The federal budget for drug control in 2020 is $34.6 billion.
  • In 2018, more than 67,300 Americans died from drug-related overdose.
  • The most common substance exposure reported to poison control centers in 2018 was illegal or misused prescription opioids, with nearly 284,000 cases.
  • In 2017, more than 11 million people misused prescription drugs with 62% reporting that pain alleviation was the primary reason for the increased dosage.
  • More than half of those who struggle with substance abuse began with marijuana, according to drugabuse.gov.
  • The number of older adults in need of substance abuse treatment is estimated to increase from 1.7 million in 2000-01 to 4.4 million in 2020.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased from 9.0% in 2017 to 9.9% in 2018.

What are the Effects of Drug Addiction?

If left untreated for long, drug addiction and substance use disorders can result in diminished health, job loss, and the estrangement of loved ones. While drugs may offer short-term relief, extended drug use only aggravates an individual’s problems, since the root causes of the pain are never addressed.

Drug addiction can lead to a number of mental and physical disorders. If addiction is left untreated, unrestrained drug use will persist despite its overwhelming and often demoralizing consequences on individuals and their families.

Effects of Drug Addiction

  • Heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels
  • Irregular heartbeat, heart failure, or seizures
  • Panic attacks, fits of paranoia
  • Wildly fluctuating changes in body temperature
  • Confusion, memory challenges, abnormal sleeping patterns
  • Organ failure (may include heart, kidneys, lungs)
  • Brain impairment
  • Inability to focus
  • Changes in relationships (becoming withdrawn, lying to cover up addiction)
  • Financial struggles
  • Trouble with the law
  • Prioritizing using the substance over nearly everything else

Articles on Drug Addiction

Social Media: The New Corner Drug Dealer

Studies have been showing the negative impact social media has on our mental health. But did you know that social media has become an outlet for buying and selling drugs? And not just any drugs: deadly ones. 

Learn More
Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana on the Rise

You’ve probably heard of fentanyl-laced heroin or opioid pills, but it has recently shown up in other street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstacy. There’s even reason to believe that fentanyl-laced marijuana is now circulating.

Learn More
Prescription vs. Illicit Drug Addiction

When we think of “drug abuse,” most of our minds probably go straight to illicit drug use. But prescription drug abuse has grown into a national problem over the past few decades, with sad and shocking statistics to show for it.

Learn More

Help for Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we’re here for you. Dr. Claudia Black, the clinical architect of our treatment program, has decades of experience working with family systems and addictive disorders. Her leadership and our entire team’s professional, compassionate approach have helped many young adults find freedom, hope, and a healthy path forward.

“Drug addiction not only wreaks havoc on relationships and job performance, but it can have a significant impact on someone’s major organs and important bodily functions.”


Our experienced, compassionate Admissions team is here to help 24 hours a day and will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve. Let our specialists help you create a road map to get you where you want to go: a healthier, more balanced, fulfilling place in life. When you call, you’ll be led through a series of questions to determine if the Claudia Black Young Adult Center is the right fit for your needs, and how soon your treatment can begin.

If you are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, call or fill out our convenient Admissions form!




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