Drug abuse in 2012 is at an all-time high in the United States. More people than ever before are seeking treatment for addiction and the number of drug-related arrests have been steadily increasing over the last few years. More people than ever are using illicit drugs, and abuse of prescription drugs has reached an epidemic level. Here is a list of the top 10 abused drugs in 2012.
1.) Alcohol: Alcohol continues to be the number one drug abused in the US. With over half the US population identified as current drinkers, it is by far the most common drug of abuse in 2012. Alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs because of its legality. Unfortunately, this causes many to forget that alcohol is also responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other drug. Alcohol abuse is linked to traffic fatalities, violence, cirrhosis, liver failure, and permanent brain damage.
2.) Nicotine: The primary ingredient in tobacco is the second most abused drug in 2012. One quarter of Americans are current tobacco users. The use of tobacco has become less common in the US over the last decade, but it is still one of the most abused drugs in the US.
3.) Marijuana: Marijuana continues to be the number one abused illicit drug in 2012. Most Americans do not view marijuana as a dangerous drug, but its use has been linked to memory impairment, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, mental illness, and traffic fatalities.
4.) Prescription drugs: Treatment for prescription drug abuse and addiction has increased 300% since 2005. The CDC has called prescription drug abuse in 2012 an “epidemic.” Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Painkillers like oxycodone are the most commonly abused prescription drug in 2012.
5.) Cocaine: Although cocaine use has decreased from the epidemic level observed in the 80’s, cocaine remains one of the most abused drugs in 2012. The quick but intense high of cocaine abuse results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug craving.
6.) Inhalants: Inhalants are becoming one of the more and more commonly abused drugs in 2012 because they are easy to get (they are sold over the counter) and they are relatively cheap. Users inhale toxic chemicals in order to get high. The most common are shoe polish, glue, gasoline, spray paint, cleaning fluid, “poppers,” and nitrous oxide. Inhaling chemicals is very dangerous, overdose and death can happen on first use.
7.) Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is popular in rural United States because it is cheap, easy to manufacture at home, and requires no special equipment or expertise. Illicit methamphetamine abuse in 2012 is also at one of the highest levels since the 60’s. It is one of the most abused drugs in 2012.
8.) Ecstasy: Ecstasy is the 8th most abused drug in 2012. It is the club drug of choice among young people in the US. It is used for the feeling of euphoria and closeness with others. However, even short-term use can cause severe depression, muscle tension, chills, blurred visions, faintness, teeth clenching, sweating, and nausea.
9.) Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens can include a number of drugs including LSD, PCP, psilocybin mushrooms, and ketamine. In this class, LSD is the most abused drug in 2012. The effects of LSD are very unpredictable, and can cause psychosis.
10.) Heroin: Last on or list of the most abused drugs in 2012, is heroin. Made from the resin of poppy plants, heroin is highly addictive and withdrawal is excruciating. Once considered the ultimate drug addiction, heroin has taken a backseat to prescription painkillers which have similar effects and are more readily available in some parts of the US.