Addiction & Substance Abuse

Drug abuse is one of the most pervasive public health issues facing the nation. Its impact crosses all socioeconomic levels, ages, cultural backgrounds and genders. Every single community is impacted by addiction and substance abuse.

Amphetamine Addiction

What is Amphetamine?

Amphetamine is a stimulant of the central nervous system affecting chemicals in the brain and nerves that control impulse control and hyperactivity. It is typically called “speed” or “uppers.”

Amphetamine is commonly prescribed as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy. Some of the more common brand names are Adderall, Dexedrine and Desoxyn.

Amphetamine has gained popularity among workers, students and some professionals working varied shifts or needing to stay up all night. Amphetamines can be used in a variety of ways, including being ingested, crushed, snorted, injected, dissolved in water or smoked.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of Amphetamine Addiction:

  • Anxiety, aggression and paranoia
  • Rapid rate of speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Changes in social life, behavior
  • Rapid increase in blood pressure
  • High body Temperature
  • Weight loss and Digestive upset

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Withdrawal

  • Symptoms of withdrawal from amphetamine and its associated stimulants can emerge as soon as a few hours, or even days, after the last ingestion.
  • The symptoms can include:
    • Extreme Fatigue
    • Drug cravings, anxiety
    • Depression
    • Memory loss
    • Loss of interest in daily life
    • Suicidal thoughts

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Overdose:

  • Amphetamine overdoses may even occur in first-time users of the drug, depending on dosage.
  • A person experiencing overdose symptoms typically:
    • Become more aggressive
    • Have extremely high blood pressure
    • Can have rapid pulse and heartbeat, seizures
    • Have difficulty breathing
    • Can have difficulty processing cognitively

Names of Different Amphetamines

  • Dextroamphetamine
  • levoamphetamine
  • methamphetamine
  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • ProCentra
  • Ritalin
  • Concerta

Street names include:

  • Bennies
  • Crank
  • Black Mollies
  • Speed
  • Uppers
  • Dexies
  • Lightening


  • An estimated 13 million Americans use amphetamines without medical supervision
  • Full-time college students are twice as likely to use Adderall non-medically
  • The United Nations estimates that up to 52.9 million people globally had consumed an amphetamine-group drug at least once in their lifetime.
  • Almost 11 million Americans have tried methamphetamine at least once
  • In 2011, there were an estimated 160,000 amphetamine and methamphetamine-related emergency room visits in the U.S.
  • Use of amphetamines is on the rise among college students, with an estimated 7 percent of college-age students nationally using the drug illegally.


There are many types of alcohol, a legal controlled substance that lowers inhibitions and anxiety. Classified as a depressant, alcohol generates a broad range of effects including slurred speech, distorted judgment, loss of coordination and altered reaction times. Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is used in beverages and is created by the fermentation of grains and fruits. An alcoholic drink is defined as one ½-ounce shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine and a 12-ounce bottle of beer.

Is My Alcohol Consumption a problem?

Moderate Alcohol consumption is defined as two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Over-consumption becomes a behavioral disorder when females consume 12 alcoholic drinks or more in a week or men consume 15 alcoholic drinks or more in a week.

Your consumption amount can be a problem if…


  • You are Pregnant.
  • You are taking some over-the- counter medicines or prescription medicine.
  • You plan to operate a vehicle or machinery.
  • You are under the legal drinking age. 

Alcohol Content

Fermented drinks, such as beer and wine, contain from 2 percent alcohol to 20 percent alcohol. Distilled drinks, or liquor, contain from 40 to 50 percent or more alcohol. The usual alcohol content for each is:

  • Beer 2–6% alcohol
  • Wine 8–20% alcohol
  • Tequila 40% alcohol
  • Rum 40% or more alcohol
  • Brandy 40% or more alcohol
  • Gin 40–47% alcohol
  • Whiskey 40–50% alcohol
  • Vodka 40–50% alcohol
  • Liqueurs 15–60% alcohol


A person who is mentally or physically addicted to alcohol suffers from alcohol dependency. This individual has a strong urge or need to take a drink. Alcohol dependency is a long-term chronic disease, which as a predictable pattern and symptoms. Alcohol dependency is different from alcohol abuse. Some signs of alcohol dependency include:

  • You need to drink an increasing amount to get the same effect, or to feel “drunk.”
  • If you are a man, you have more than 14 drinks a week or more than four drinks at a time. If you are a woman, you have more than seven drinks a week or more than three drinks at one time.
  • You cannot control how much alcohol they consume and cannot quit drinking.
  • When you need to stop drinking, you have withdrawal symptoms, which may include sweating, shaking, stomach problems and feeling anxious.
  • You have tried to cut back on drinking alcohol or quit drinking alcohol but have not been able to succeed.
  • You have given up activities in order to drink
  • You continue to drink even though you know it causes physical problems, harms your relationships, causes injuries, causes legal problems and causes you to miss work or school.

Binge Drinking 

People who have a tendency to binge drink are at high risk for developing an alcohol addiction. Binge drinking, often associated with younger people, is defined as drinking (within a two-hour span) four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in the same timeframe. Binge drinkers may be able to go days without drinking, but once they begin drinking they often do so in excess.

High Functioning Alcoholic

A high functioning alcoholic is able to drink at a high level, and still maintain control of day-to-day activities. They often drink excessively in private and do not typically display the outward symptoms of an alcoholic. They are typically in denial about the amount of alcohol they consume.


  • People in the U.S. spend more than $90 billion annually on alcoholic beverages.
  • The average U.S. consumer may drink more than 2 gallons of wine, 1 ½ gallons of distilled spirits and 25 gallons of beer each year. 
  • Alcohol abuse accounts for approximately 67 percent of all substance abuse complaints that U.S. employers receive. 
  • The largest percentage – 12.2 percent – of heavy drinkers is adults between the ages of 26 and 34 who are unemployed.
  • One in three people have been involved in a crash related to alcohol in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 50,000 different cases of alcohol poisoning are reported in the U.S. each year.
  • More than 15 million U.S. citizens are dependent on alcohol.


Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Abuse

 Prescription drug abuse is the taking of drugs in a way not prescribed by a physician. Prescription pills are also misused by taking someone else’s prescription drugs, taking prescription medicines to get high or mixing prescriptions with other drugs.

Barbiturate Addiction

What are Barbiturates:

Barbiturates have typically been used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and epilepsy, as well as for sedation. They are typically taken as pills, but can also be injected into veins or muscles.

Names of Different Barbiturates:

  • The generic names for barbiturates include pentobarbital, amobartibal, phenobarbital and tuinal.
  • The more common street names include downers, blue velvet, yellow jackets, goof balls, reds, rainbows and purple hearts.

Symptoms of Barbiturate Addiction:

  • Slurred speech, decreased motor control, lack of coordination
  • Mood swings, irritability, agitation
  • Depression and confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hypotension
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Hallucinations

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is the reaction of stopping excessive alcohol consumption. This reaction can include a variety of symptoms and can lead the person experiencing them to resume drinking alcohol in order to relieve them.

Benzodiazepines "Benzos" Addiction

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepine, or “Benzos” create a sedative, hypnotic and muscle relaxant effect. They are typically used to address seizures, panic, anxiety disorders, agitation and insomnia.

Benzodiazapines are most commonly used in pill form. They can also be administered intravenously or injected into muscles. They are frequently used recreationally and by drug misusers.

Names of Different Benzodiazepines:

  • Diazepam
  • Doral
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Ativan
  • Temazepam
  • Klonopin

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of Benzo Overdose:

  • Confusion
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty breathing
  • weakness
  • blurred vision

Symptoms of Benzo addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness