Drug & Alcohol Facts

Discover addiction resources that will help you or a loved one recover, stay sober, find hope, and save lives.

Alcohol and Drug Facts

  • Based on a study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20 million Americans aged 12 or older have used an illegal drug in the past 30 days. That amounts to 8% of the population of the United States. The most commonly used illegal substance is marijuana, with cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants trailing significantly behind.
  • Drug abuse costs an estimated $190 billion to society. This is broken up into $130 in lost work productivity, $20 billion in healthcare costs, and $40 billion in legal efforts to control illegal substances.
  • Alcohol affects your body in multiple ways, including:
    • Lowered inhibitions – Your ability to make clear, conscious decisions is greatly affected, making it more likely that you will do or say something that you might regret.
    • Loss of memory – With enough alcohol, you may experience a “blackout,” where you don’t remember certain things or even entire hours of the night
    • High risk behavior – people under the influence of alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex, drunk driving, or fighting.
    • Loss of coordination – Excessive alcohol use can lead to loss of balance and blurred vision, making basic, everyday motions more difficult and increasing your risk of falling or injuring yourself
    • Death – Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to death in the most severe cases. Because it is a depressant, it effects your central nervous system. If you drink more than your body can handle, you may pass out or even stop breathing. You are also susceptible to vomiting and asphyxiation while sleeping.
  • Effects of Marijuana Consumption
    • Paranoia – You may experience feelings of panic and fear
    • Decreased concentration – marijuana effects your brain in ways that may make it difficult to concentrate or make clear decisions
    • Decreased coordination – Because marijuana slows you down, you might not be able to perform everyday tasks as you normally could
    • Apathy – Many people report feeling a decreased interest in completing tasks or socializing. This can have a negative effect on your job or your relationships with friends and family.
    • Insomnia – after “coming down” from the high, you may find it difficult to sleep and you might be more irritable.
  • Effects of Cocaine
    • Increased heart rate – this may be noticeable to the extent that you feel as though your heart is beating out of your chest
    • Increased body temperature
    • Erratic, violent behavior – Some people become violent and irritable when they consume cocaine.
    • Anxiety – You may start to feel panicked and anxious or paranoid
    • Tremors – Because cocaine is a stimulant, your nervous system can become over-excited and you might become shaky or experiences involuntary twitches and spasms
    • Seizures – Cocaine overdose can lead to overstimulation of your nervous system to an extent that you could have a seizure
    • Cardiac Arrest – severe cases of cocaine consumption can result in fatal cardiac arrest

Alcohol and Drug FAQ

What is Drug addiction?

Drug addiction is when a person uses a drug to an extent that it causes negative interference with their personal and professional life as well as has negative consequences for their mental and physical health. Symptoms of drug addiction include constant cravings for the substance and an inability to function or feel normal without it, whether physically or psychologically. There is a spectrum of drug addiction, but at any level, it is important to get help before it spins out of control. 

Can you be an Alcoholic if you only drink occasionally?

Not all alcoholics drink every day, or even on a regular basis. Alcoholism is defined as what happens when you do drink. If drinking causes problems at home or work or is diminishing your ability to remain mentally or physically healthy, it might be time to seek help.

How can I identify if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

There are several warning signs of intoxication, with some of the most common being:

  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Erratic gait
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Drastic weight loss or weight gain
  • Overall sense of apathy or interest in activities
  • Frequent lying or avoiding personal relationships

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is characterized as a variety of symptoms that occur after someone abruptly ends their usage of a particular drug. In general, these symptoms occur because the body has become physiologically dependent on the substance and reacts to the sudden loss of their effects. While withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance and person to person, some of the most common ones are:

  • Shaking or tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent aches and pains
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Inability to concentrate

How is withdrawal treated?

Treatment for withdrawal depends on the substance, but it may be treated by slowly weaning off of the drug. It can also be treated through the use of other drugs and natural remedies such as nutrient replacement. It should be noted that treatment for withdrawal is not the same as treatment for addiction.

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