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Past and Current Trends of Drug Abuse in the United States

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Past and Current Trends of Drug Abuse in the United States

Drug abuse has changed over the years due to the trends that Americans face from the encouragement of different cultures. The abuse of substances creates many health problems. The following will discuss the past and current trends of drug use and the effects these drugs have on the health of the individuals who abuse the drugs.

The use of cocaine in the United States has declined over the last twenty years while the use of crack has increased. Many people avoided the use of crack because of the harmful chemicals used in creating the drug. One of the reasons why crack became popular is because of not needing to inject the drug hence less risks of being infected by the AIDS virus. Carroll (2000) states cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin. Most users snort or inject the drug to enable a quicker "high." Cocaine use brings on many health problems. Fatal complications occur from regular use, for example, liver damage, seizures, elevated blood pressure causing stroke, heart failure, or heart attack.

Another growing fad in the United States is the abuse of prescription drugs. The abuse is being done by not only adults but by teens. The most current trend today is the misuse of cough syrups and prescription medications to produce a "high." Other medications abused today are stimulants (Ritalin), and benzodiazepines (Xanax). Health Watch (2004) state girls tend to lean towards the medications which are like 'hypnotics' while boys lean towards the stimulants. Opioids, OxyContin and Vicodin, are also common among teens. Addiction to opiods is very likely when used on a regular basis. Each of these different abuses among teens cause several health risks some being insomnia, addiction, and nausea.

Marijuana has become one of the most controversial drugs used today and in the past. Many claim fame to the medicinal purposes of marijuana as to why the drug should be legalized. Today the effects of marijuana use are more known. According to Carroll (2000), marijuana contains 50 percent more cancer causing hydrocarbons than cigarettes. Blood pressure is affected by the use along with sexual function. The abuse of marijuana is one from the past and continues to be a trend in today's time. An epidemic of marijuana smoking began by 1935, which caused laws to be enacted against the use of marijuana not for medical use.

Heroin use has changed over the years. Injection is the best way to administer

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