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Identify Drug Abuse

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Drug abuse is practically everywhere one turns these days. In fact, an estimated 20 million Americans over the age of 12 has used an illegal drug in the past month, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD).

This Council also estimates that drug abuse costs society as a whole more than $190 billion a year. This amount includes about $130 billion in lost productivity due to drug abuse, $20 billion in healthcare costs and another $40 billion in legal costs in efforts to stem the flow of drugs. With such staggering statistics, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms in order to identify those around you that may be abusing drugs.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs

Marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and prescription drugs are some of the most commonly abused drugs.

Risk Factors for Drug Abuse

While risk factors vary from person to person, the most common risk factors include:

• Family history or genetics
• Age at which a person starts using drugs
• Family issues such as abuse, neglect and/or traumatic events
• Social environment
• Type of drug being used

Physical Signs of Drug Abuse

Some physical signs include pupils that are smaller or bigger than normal, eyes that are bloodshot, nosebleeds, appetite change and grooming issues.

Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse

Behavioral signs of drug abuse include loss of interest in everyday activities, financial problems such as new, or unusual need for money, which may include borrowing money or even stealing money/valuables from others, and relationship changes where suddenly, for no apparent reason, changing of friends and/or hobbies.

Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADD)