According to the medical dictionary the definition of drug abuse is, "the use of a drug for a non-therapeutic effect. Drug abuse may lead to organ damage, addiction, and disturbed patterns of behavior." The use of some illicit drugs often incurs criminal penalty in addition to the potential for physical, social, and psychological harm.
Drug abuse or addiction is the condition where one has an overwhelming desire to continue using a drug. Repeated consumption in turn becomes a habit and is accompanied by the tendency to increase the dosage of the drug along with physical and psychological dependence on its effects.
There are various types of drugs available that can lead to addictions. Some common varieties include cannabis, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, opiates, and designer drugs (such as Ecstasy). The causes leading to drug abuse and its subsequent treatment would depend on what type of drug was being taken and for how long.
There are several facts and statistical data available about drug abuse from various government and private organizations. Some shocking facts include:
- In the US, drug abuse accounts almost 25% of deaths
- When treating a drug addict, the cost of medication is almost twice as much as when treating a person who is clean.
- In cases of domestic violence, nearly 75% of the incidents can be attributed to drug abuse.
- People between the ages of 18 to 29 are the worst affected by drug abuse.
- The average age at which children in the US start experimenting with drugs is pegged at 12.5 years.
- Nearly 70% of drug addiction cases in the US are caused by an addiction to heroin and cocaine.
- Usha Sambamoorthi, Lynn A. Warner, Stephen Crystal, James Walkup, Drug abuse, methadone treatment, and health services use among injection drug users with AIDS, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 60, Issue 1, 1 July 2000, Pages 77-89, ISSN 0376-8716, 10.1016/S0376-8716(00)80010-1.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871600800101)
- Allison C Morrill, Linda Kasten, Matthew Urato, Mary Jo Larson, Abuse, addiction, and depression as pathways to sexual risk in women and men with a history of substance abuse, Journal of Substance Abuse, Volume 13, Issues 1–2, September 2001, Pages 169-184, ISSN 0899-3289, 10.1016/S0899-3289(01)00065-7.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899328901000657)