Recognizing the signs is one of the best ways you can prevent drug misuse. If you think that it can’t happen to you, it can. Be sure you know what to look for. 

Substance use disorder does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it cannot happen to you or your loved ones.

In 2018, an estimated 16.9 million Americans age 12 and up misused prescription medications, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. About 59 percent of this group misused prescription painkillers. Some substances, including painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives, have a higher chance of causing physical dependence and addiction, where the person may seek the drug despite harmful consequences.

In 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, reinforcing the fact that addiction is a medical issue that impacts the entire nation. Opioid dependence is a biological process that happens to the brain and body. Repeated use of opioids rapidly leads to tolerance — which causes the person to need to use more and more to get the same effect — and withdrawal — where the person needs the drug to feel “normal” and not physically sick. The dangers of harmful opioid use are great, including overdose and death. In 2017, 47,600 people died from a drug overdose involving opioids in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

One of the keys to prevention is recognizing the signs of potential substance use disorder. If you can catch the signs before it begins, you may be able to prevent some of the negative effects of its negative effects.

Recognizing the Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Signs of Opioid Misuse:

Signs of Stimulant Misuse:

Other Ways to Prevent Misuse and Overdose

Preventing harmful prescription use in part involves physicians making judicious and informed decisions when prescribing opioids or other drugs that may cause dependence. Other things to keep in mind:

How to Get Help

In Case of Emergency

Call 911 or Poison Control at 800/222-1222.