The Danger of Thinking You Can Use Drugs Just Once More

Posted in: Drug Abuse

April 10, 2014

A man looking at a syringe and a spoon with white substance in and around it

Many people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction realize that they have a problem, but are hesitant to get help. They might think that their life will change for the worse in recovery because they will have to give up activities and relationships that they care about. These people may decide to get professional help, but might also think that they can use drugs just one more time before they begin the recovery process. This idea is extremely dangerous, though, and can lead to life-threatening consequences. It’s therefore essential for these people to talk to trained professionals as soon as possible about their desire to use the substance again.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.9 million Americans 12 years and older had used illegal drugs in the month before the survey. The drugs included in the survey were marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and non-medically used prescription medication. This survey also identified around 23.1 million people 12 and older who were struggling with substance dependence or abuse and who needed to receive specialty substance use treatment. However, only 2.5 million of these people actually received professional help. As this survey shows, many people need treatment for their drug use problem, but not many people receive it.

Drug Use and Addiction

One common reason some people don’t receive treatment is because they think that they are in control of their substance abuse or dependence problem and can take the drug one more time without any negative side effects. The reality of drug use, however, is that each time a person uses drugs is different, and the effects of each use are unpredictable. Many people who use drugs become addicted to them, and continuing the drug use instead of receiving professional help only increases the odds that a person will become addicted.

Drug Use Side Effects

The greatest risk a person runs when choosing to use drugs one more time, however, lies in the side effects of drug use. These can range from mild to severe, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, and can include temporary or permanent negative effects on the heart, lungs, and brain. Some possible health risks for drug use include heart attack, seizures, stroke, and coma.

Additionally, all drugs have the potential to cause death from overdose, or from the body’s negative reaction to the substance. No matter how many times a person has used a drug, it’s impossible to know how his body will respond to a specific drug use occasion. Psych Central reports that in 2002, more than 16,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, with most deaths occurring from opioid, heroin, or cocaine use.

Illegal drugs are not manufactured in safe and regulated environments, and thus their ingredients cannot be monitored. This means that drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which are dangerous to use already, can have additional and unknown ingredients added to them that make them even more dangerous. And even prescription drugs, which are federally regulated, are dangerous to consume in non-prescribed doses. Essentially, all types of drug use can be life-threatening, and a person can’t know in advance what will happen when he takes a drug.

Where to Find More Information About Dangers of Continued Drug Use

Instead of using drugs one more time, a person with a substance abuse or dependence problem should seek out professional help immediately. If you or someone you know is struggling, call us at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are available to answer your questions about drug use, and to help you find a treatment center that best fits your needs.

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