Addiction can take various forms, including but not limited to drugs, gambling, shopping, sex and video games. All of them can lead to deteriorating health, overdose and death. Understanding the negative effects of commonly abused drugs is crucial. Alcohol affects so many things such as coordination, speech and can even lead to heart issues, high blood pressure or risky behavior. Cocaine causes extreme weight loss, irritability and increased heart rate. Opioids, both prescription and street drugs like heroin, are highly addictive and pose significant risks, including damaging side effects and difficult detoxification. Marijuana can lead to weakened immunity, lung irritation and mental health issues. Methamphetamine causes severe physical and behavioral changes, including tooth decay and violent behavior. Treatment is available for many different types of addiction, and Pinelands Recovery Center in New Jersey offers a serene and supportive environment to help individuals recover and lead productive, sober lives.

What are the Most Commonly Abused Drugs?

Addiction can take form in a variety of ways. Addiction manifestation can include anything from gambling, shopping, sex, video games, or most prevalent – drugs. Drug addiction poses many long-term health risks and, depending on the substance being abused, these can all vary. However, one thing is in common with all of them: deteriorating health, overdose and/or death. It’s important to understand the most commonly abused drugs and their negative effects, and that living a life free of drug addiction can be possible.


People drink to celebrate, socialize, relax and to have a good time. But, when does too much alcohol become a use disorder? Over half of the U.S. population has identified themselves as drinkers, making alcohol is the #1 abused substance in America. Alcohol causes changes within your central nervous system, reducing communication between your brain and your body. This is how alcohol makes coordination more difficult, and how speech begins to slur after drinking too much.

Alcohol also causes heart issues, high blood pressure, anxiety, changes to sugar levels, blackouts and more. When someone is extremely intoxicated, they may make poor decisions that they normally wouldn’t in a sober state. This can include driving, criminal behavior or abusive and violent behavior.


Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. Cocaine is one of the most commonly abused drugs because it makes your brain release extremely high levels of dopamine, the natural chemical messenger in your body. It sends the dopamine into the parts of your brain that control pleasure, which causes feelings of energy and alertness. People may experience loss of appetite that results in extreme weight loss and malnourishment, irritability, increased heart rate, convulsions, and seizures.


There is an opioid epidemic happening in our country, making opioids one of the most commonly abused drugs. Opioids can come in many forms, including prescription drugs and street drugs like heroin. Even though prescription opioids are legal for use under medical supervision, becoming addicted to them is all too common and often deadly.

Prescription Drugs

While people may take prescription opioid drugs at first with no intention of getting high or addicted, it, unfortunately, happens all too often. After surgery, injury or other type of chronic pain, doctors may prescribe these addictive medications to help with painful side effects. These medications cut off of the communication between the pain point and the brain, essentially tricking your body out of feeling pain. This can cause damaging side effects such as extreme drowsiness, nausea, confusion and long-term damages to the nervous system. Quitting opioid prescription medication can be damaging as well, which makes it one of the toughest drugs to detox from and stay sober from in the long-term.


Heroin is another one of the many types of opioids and is one of the most commonly abused drugs. It is an illegal street drug that is much less expensive than prescription drugs, while still offering the exact same high and damaging side effects. Many people who are addicted to prescription pain killers eventually turn to heroin for this reason. Using needles also offers its own set of damaging effects, such as diseases and physical damages to the skin and veins.


While marijuana has many benefits when used medically, it can quickly turn into a use disorder much like prescription opioids. Marijuana can affect brain development in young people, as well as cause a weakening of the immune system, lung irritation, and increased heart rate. It also increases depression, anxiety, impaired judgment, and memory problems.


Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant drug. It offers a high that can last 40 times longer than the effects of cocaine. Much like cocaine, methamphetamine can suppress the appetite which can cause severe weight loss and malnourishment. In addition, it can cause other physical changes such as decayed teeth or loss of teeth, skin lesions, and hair loss. Behaviorally, it can cause erratic or violent behavior, psychosis, depression, and extreme paranoia. It can also cause liver, kidney and lung damage as well as permanent damage to blood vessels and severe convulsions or seizures that can lead to death.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

No matter which one of the most commonly abused drugs you may be addicted to, there is one thing that they all have in common: treatment is available. Each drug offers its own host of damaging and life-threatening effects, especially when combined together. As addiction progresses, the chances of having to live with these long term effects increases, as do the chances of overdose or death. Living a life free of addiction is possible, and it only takes one phone call.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and
healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit