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A Roundup of the Real Dangers of a Range of Drugs

When we talk about drug abuse, it can be easy to forget just how many drugs—both prescription and illicit—are out there in the world. Each of these substances has the potential to be problematic or even deadly. Having a good sense of why various drugs might pose a problem for you can help you make good choices. 

While this is important for almost everyone, it can be particularly important if you are already in recovery from a substance use disorder. Reminders of the true dangers of drugs or alcohol can help motivate you to continue to do the steady work of maintaining your sobriety. 

To that end, we offer some quick summaries here—and links to our more in-depth consideration of various kinds of drugs.

Avoid Membership in This Kind of Club at All Costs

The substances often grouped together under the moniker of “club drugs” are often used to enhance a good time. They might lower inhibitions or increase feelings of pleasure—or both. But as we wrote in an entry titled “Don’t Get Initiated Into the Club of Club Drug Users,” these drugs can have devastating impacts on your well-being:

When it comes to club drugs, it can be useful to think of three different (but related) ways they can cause harm. Those three ways are:

  • They can lead to risky behavior that can have serious consequences
  • They can start extremely negative impacts on your body and brain
  • They can lead to terrible withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking them

Whether the drug in question is ecstasy or Special K or acid or any of a number of other club drugs, our advice is consistent: The quick burst of joy these drugs might engender is simply not worth the long term problems that can follow.

The Story of Stimulants is Often Seriously Bad

People turn to stimulants like meth or cocaine for more than just a surge of energy. These drugs and others like them can provide a rush of positive feelings. As we note in the entry “If You’re Using Meth of Cocaine, We Want to Stimulate You to Get Help,” that initial rush comes at a cost:

That feeling of euphoria is hard to come by in daily life, so many people find themselves desperate to experience it again and again via repeated drug use.

It is, of course, a trap. As a person continues to use meth or cocaine, it takes more and more to achieve the same sense of well-being they felt in the beginning. Meanwhile, a lengthy list of negative impacts starts to play havoc with both the body and the mind.

The withdrawal symptoms that complicated trying to give up meth or cocaine can be as bad or worse than the symptoms associated with taking the drugs. You can quickly find yourself between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Cracking the Code for When Codeine Goes Wrong

We noted at the start of this entry that prescription drugs can be problematic in the same ways that more illicit substances are. Take, for example, codeine. It is a popular cough suppressant—and generally not the kind of medication one associates with a substance use disorder. But that is not necessarily the full story, as we wrote in the entry, “There Are Reasons to Be Concerned About Codeine”:

[C]odeine is an opiate, which means it is in the same drug class as morphine, oxycodone, and heroin. Admittedly, it is generally considered less dangerous than other opiates, but that does not mean it can’t be misused. Codeine can be problematic in its own right—and it can sometimes serve as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances. In either case, misuse of codeine can certainly lead to the development of a substance use disorder. …

The drug often engenders feelings of relaxation and/or euphoria, and those feelings can be pleasant enough that the user simply wants to keep experiencing them. And so they decide to take a higher dose than prescribed or to find ways to continue acquiring codeine—seeking multiple prescriptions, forging prescriptions, finding illegal sources—so they can extend the experience.

The key with codeine, as with all prescription drugs, is to strictly follow the instructions of your doctor and pharmacist so that problems are less likely to arise.

If You Have Developed a Substance Use Disorder, We Can Help

At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, we have the expertise and experience necessary to help you put drug or alcohol use behind you. No matter what substance you are struggling with, we offer personalized treatment plans delivered with respect and empathy. Our goal is simple: We want to help you get—and stay—sober that you can reclaim your life. When you are ready to get started, we are always standing by.