Substance Abuse Disorder and 3 Common Killers

Illegal Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) is a condition that affects over 11 percent of the U.S. population. If we include the number of individuals who use alcohol, that increases. Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from Alcoholism alone. The U.S. loses nearly 70,000 lives to substance overdose every year.

This could be attributed to a social and political stigma and debate over drug use, leading to a lack to access to medical facilities and rehabilitation centers, like drug rehab Austin, and a lack of education.

The following are some of the biggest killers when it comes to Substance Abuse Disorder.


Heroin is an opioid that can act as a depressant on the nervous system. Users experience a rush and then, in the short-term, are impaired mentally for several hours, accompanied by nausea, itching, and slowed breathing, which can be fatal sometimes. Long-term heroin use is tied to damage of the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems.

Heroin is extremely dangerous due to two factors; It has an extremely high rate of addiction, with a 25 percent chance of becoming addicted after initial exposure, and it is extremely easy to overdose on as the dosage required to feel the effects is only 5 times less than the lethal dosage. In 2019, over 14, 000 people overdosed on Heroin in the United States alone.


Alcohol Abuse Disorder, or Alcoholism, is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for 95,000 deaths a year, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Alcoholism is so deadly due to the ease of availability to the drug. It also is a part of social cultures and heavy alcohol use is increasing among children.

Alcohol impairs the nervous system by affecting judgment and the ability to react quickly. This is why drinking and driving are never advised. In the long-term, heavy alcohol can cause a variety of health issues, including cirrhosis, fatty liver disease and can increase the risk of heart conditions.


Cocaine is a drug derived from the coca plant that acts as a stimulant on the nervous system. Cocaine significantly increases the level of dopamine in a person’s brain very quickly, leading to an intense rush. This is however short-lived, leading to continued use being very likely with this drug. Cocaine puts individuals with pre-existing heart conditions at a risk for developing medical complications after use.

Long-term cocaine use can lead to several health problems. It can permanently damage or scar the nasal or lung tissue. It also has a derogatory effect on the heart and the cardiovascular system. Cocaine also accounted for over 21 percent of overdose deaths in 2020.

Understanding the risks of these drugs is part of the key to battling the rising numbers of those affected with SUDs. If you or someone you know needs help at a detox in Austin, reaching out and getting licensed help is the best thing you can do. These programs offer individualized programs to battle whatever addiction a patient is faced with.

There are also alternatives such as sober living Austin, which is an example of a sober-living community that takes a more group-based therapeutic approach.


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