Ever since Nixon declared his infamous “War on Drugs” there has been much discussion as to what constitutes a drug. In the United States, there is an extensive list of substances, including illegal substances, that have all made their way to be considered drugs. However, when it comes to the list of most commonly abused drugs in the United States, the actual results might surprise you. The first thoughts that come to mind are the heavy hitters, such as cocaine and heroin. The most commonly abused drugs, however, may surprise you in some cases. Here are the top 5 drugs that are currently the most abused in the United States.
5: BENZODIAZEPINES (BENZOS)
Benzos are a class of depressant typically used as a medication to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other mental illnesses. The most common benzos are Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. These are widely prescribed and create a pleasant sensation of relaxation and calm. The main issue is that they are abused along with heavy drinking or other drugs such as cocaine.
Drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Percocet all fall under this category. Typically they are prescribed for injury or prolonged pain. The problem is that most of these painkillers are opiates, falling in the same family as heroin. Opiates are highly addictive and even people using them as prescribed can become addicted. Recreational users will often take painkillers in combination with alcohol to heighten the effects. Doing so can lead to a number of health risks including liver failure and death in severe cases.
Marijuana, while not noted as being as lethal as the other drugs already mentioned, still ranks in as one of the most abused drugs in the United States. Unlike the other drugs, however, marijuana has been recently under new scrutiny as many states are looking to legalize, or at the very least, decriminalize marijuana. Some, such as Colorado, already have.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that tobacco makes the list, given its super addictive properties. However, it’s become so commonplace that most people don’t even consider tobacco to be a drug. Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and many other forms are all sold legally and just about everywhere. That said, tobacco is responsible for more deaths annually than just about every other drug combined.
Indeed, alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the United States, with over half of the population identifying as drinkers. Alcohol comes with a number of complications ranging from health conditions such as liver and kidney failure to more direct hazards such as drunk driving. Because of its availability and the number of consumers, alcohol takes the number one spot for the most abused drug in the United States.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction to any substance, get help. Counseling and rehabilitation services can go a long way towards increasing both quality of life as well as life expectancy. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving and in need of help, seek that help from the experienced Maryland drunk driving lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC.