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What is the Definition of Drug Addiction?


Do you have a family member who is addicted to illegal drugs? If not a family member, you probably have a friend, an acquaintance, or a friend of a friend that is addicted. This is because drug addiction is extremely rampant in this country, with more than 20 million Americans having used an illegal substance in the past month.

Drug Addiction Defined

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the definition of drug addition is:

“…a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors…”

Drug Addiction Costs

It is estimated that 23.5 million people over the age of 12 need treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse each year. And of these millions of people, only 2.6 million receive treatment at a facility that specializes in helping people with drug abuse problems.

If left untreated, drug addiction can lead to death. In fact, drug addition contributes to the deaths of more than 100,000 Americans each year. Additionally, drug addition costs the economy of the United States billions of dollars each year in increased costs associated with health care, crime and lost productivity.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs

The most commonly abused illegal substance is marijuana. Other commonly abused drugs include cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, PCP, crack, meth, prescription painkillers and anabolic steroids.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse