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Illinois Drug Addiction
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Illinois Drug Addiction

Illinois drug addiction affects millions of people each year, regardless of if you are the one who directly suffers from the disease or not. Illinois drug addiction has always been a consistent problem in the state. With Chicago being one of the largest drug transportation hubs in the nation, Illinois residents have access to a list of substances including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, crystal meth, and MDMA. These substances and others fuel the Illinois drug addiction epidemic and can ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. It is estimated that about 120,000 people in the city of Chicago are involved in organized gangs and the distribution of illegal drugs. Additionally, approximately 200,000 Illinois residents have admitted to needing treatment from an Illinois drug addiction rehab, but did not accept the required help that is vital to long-term sobriety.


What Is Illinois Drug Abuse?


Illinois drug abuse is the use of an illegal substance or legal prescription medication. Additionally, Illinois drug abuse can be characterized as the misuse and overuse of drugs. Oftentimes, people turn to street drugs to treat the symptoms of various health and mental health disorders rather than seek out medical or psychological treatment. This is considered drug misuse. Overuse, of course, is consuming large quantities of the drug either all at once or throughout the days.


Commonly Abused Street Drugs




Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse and Addiction


. Lethargy

. Suddenly falling asleep

. Constricted pupils

. Lack of focus or concentration

. Needle marks on arms and body


What Category and Schedule Is It In?


Heroin falls within the category of drugs known as opiates. Opiates are drugs that come from a substance found in the seedpods of the opium poppy plant. Heroin itself is derived from morphine. Opiates block out pain by attaching themselves to pain receptors throughout the body and blocking them from receiving the signals for pain. It also attaches itself to the brainstem, effectively slowing the breathing rate and heart rate.


Scheduling of drugs indicates the ways in which these drugs are used (the effects they have) and their addictive and abuse potential. There are 5 schedules, and the lower the number the more dangerous the drug. Heroin falls within the worst schedule, Schedule I (one).


Why Is Heroin So Addictive?


Heroin is so addictive because it is extremely potent in nature. The drug releases large amounts of dopamine when it enters the bloodstream. In addition to the other effects, this makes the drug highly addictive. The brain quickly adjusts to the presence of the drug and will not release dopamine or perform other actions without the drug, causing a chemical dependence.


Health Risks for Abusing Heroin


Abusing heroin and developing an addiction to heroin comes with a myriad of health risks. Some of these include:


. Sepsis

. Seizures

. Sudden death

. Accidental overdose

. Contracting infectious diseases (HIV or hepatitis, for example)

. Endocarditis

. Organ damage and failure


Withdrawal Symptoms


. Seizures

. Diarrhea

. Tremors

. Severe abdominal pain

. Body aches and pains

. Nausea

. Vomiting 




Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction


. Excited and energetic behavior

. Bleeding from the nose

. Over-confidence

. Fast heart beat

. Dilated pupils

. Eye sensitivity to light

. Runny nose

. Constricted blood vessels

. Paranoia


What Category and Schedule Is It In?


Cocaine is a drug that falls within the category of stimulant drugs. Stimulants are drugs that excite and stimulate the central nervous system into action. This means they often cause an increase in energy among other effects. Cocaine is considered to be schedule II (two) drug. It has slightly less potential for abuse than drugs such as heroin in the schedule I category, but still has high potential for abuse. 


Why is Cocaine So Addictive?


Cocaine is so addictive because of the sudden surge of energy that the drug causes. It is often used by people who work in high power and/or high stress jobs to increase energy and work long hours. It may also be used in recreational settings as well. The fast surge of energy that cocaine causes can be very addictive as the body crashes afterwards leading to a slump in energy that leads most people to use more and more cocaine to maintain.


Health Risks from Abusing Cocaine


While many people do not believe it, abusing cocaine has numerous inherent health risks. Some of these include:


. Cardiac arrest

. Damage to the nasal passages

. Heart attack

. Lung and breathing problems

. Severe anxiety or depression

. Bowel gangrene

. Weight loss and malnourishment


Withdrawal Symptoms


. Tremors

. Depression

. Prolonged periods of sleep

. Shakiness

. Aches and pains throughout the body

. Not being able to feel pleasure

. Chills

. Inability to concentrate


Crystal Meth


Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Abuse and Addiction


. Twitching eyes

. Excessive energy

. Manic and unfocused behavior

. Weight loss and loss of appetite

. Tooth decay or damage

. Hair loss

. Agitation and anxiety

. Profuse and excessive sweating


What Category and Schedule Is It In?


Crystal meth is a stimulant drug. This accounts for the fact that it causes a person to have a sudden and swift surge of energy when they consume the drug. Crystal meth, like cocaine, is a schedule II drug. This means that is highly addictive and people are very prone to abuse if they use crystal meth, even once.


Why Is Crystal Meth So Addictive?


Crystal meth is so addictive because of the way the drug interferes with normal brain activity. When a person ingests crystal meth, the drug causes a sudden surge of energy as well as a false sense of euphoria. This euphoria that crystal meth can cause stops the brain from producing dopamine, a chemical responsible for pleasure. Thus, in order to feel pleasure, a person needs to consume more meth and so on and so forth, causing the development of a physical and mental addiction.


Health Risks from Abusing Crystal Meth


. Dental problems

. Mouth and skin sores

. Infected sores

. Brain damage (sometimes permanent)

. Kidney failure

. Lung failure

. Blindness

. Internal bleeding


Withdrawal Symptoms


. Lethargy

. Paranoia

. Anxiety

. Severe depression

. Inability to feel pleasure

. Increased appetite


Treatment for Illinois Drug Addiction


The first step in treating any Illinois drug addiction or abuse problem is to go through detox. Detox helps a person to get the drug they are addicted to out of their system. Medical detox is the best way to go about this as withdrawals can be quite difficult to deal with and in some cases may be so severe that a person requires immediate medical attention and treatment. Additionally, doctors can make the detox process gradual rather than sudden (abrupt). This makes the detox process safer and, oftentimes, less painful and uncomfortable.


In addition to detox, a person will need to go through therapy in both individual and group settings. These therapy sessions will help the recovering addict understand what led them to develop an addiction as well as factors (feelings, behaviors, etc…) that contribute to addiction so that they can learn to cope without relapsing. Other treatments include art and music therapy, family therapy, restorative yoga, and SMART Recovery, among others.


If you are suffering from an addiction to one of these street drugs or any other street drug, you do not have to suffer alone without help and treatment. You can regain control of your life and overcome your addiction with the help of an addiction specialist. All you need to do is ask for that help.