Anyone can be affected by substance abuse, but not everyone knows how is substance use disorder is diagnosed. Over 700,000 people have died from drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017. In the year 2017,  21.6 out of 100,000 people have died from an overdose in 2017. People who are drug users and can have a substance use disorder range from anyone young and old. It is not a contagious disease, but it certainly is a deadly one. 

What is Substance Use Disorder? 

Substance use disorder is a disease when one abuses drugs. The drugs can be over the counter or illegal. Abusing these drugs and not following the instructions can become substance use disorder. Many people who are addicted to drugs have substance use disorder. This is when people become dependant on drugs and even have withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop if they have been addicted for a long time. 

What drugs can cause Substance Use Disorder? 

As previously stated, any drug can lead to a substance use disorder. This means that things prescribed by a doctor like opioids can lead to addiction when they are misused. Of the 72,000 drug overdose deaths that happened in 2017, at least 68%  involved an opioid. Opioids are easily accessible as they are given to most patients who have pain from surgeries.  

Other drugs that can lead to substance use disorder are cocaine, meth, and any other illegal drug substance. While these may seem more extreme, opioid addiction can lead to people to these types of drugs once their opioid connection is stopped. It is essential to be aware that many medications can cause substance use disorder.

Can anyone that I know be using drugs? 

Anyone can become addicted to drugs. In 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving drugs (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was six times higher than in 1999. 

Adults and children are susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs and falling prey to Substance Use Disorder. In fact, children without the right education and support groups can be even more vulnerable. 

Who are the main people who deal with substance abuse?

Adults may also abuse substances, and there is no limit to who can and cannot get substance use disorder. There is no stereotype as some drugs can be found over the counter, while others are illegal and harder to obtain. In 2017, drug overdose deaths involving opioids were 14.6 out of every 100,000 people. For heroin, the statistic proved to be 4.8 out of every 100,000 people. 

There is no limit to who can be affected with substance abuse disorder. It can reach anyone anywhere, and it is essential to know what it is so we can understand how substance use disorder is diagnosed. Once we understand how it is diagnosed, we can work on preventing it. 

How is Substance Use Disorder Diagnosed? 

Substance use disorder is diagnosed in many different ways. Some people may realize that they are using drugs beyond their prescribed instructions. This could mean taking more than the recommended dose or taking medication when it is not necessary to get the effects of the drug.  

For others, it may be diagnosed due to an accident or incident. Someone may have had an overdose, or maybe they have been noticed to be acting strangely. Sometimes it is friends and family who figure out that their loved one is going through a tough time and may need help 

What happens when someone has substance use disorder?

The first thing to do is to get help for the person who was diagnosed. Some people will need to find local rehab facilities that offer inpatient and outpatient programs that specialize in drug use. It is essential to talk to a medical professional to find out what the best treatment can be for each person. 

How do we prevent people from getting substance use disorder? 

The best way to fight this epidemic is through self-awareness. The C.D.C. is trying its best to spread the word about the affects of drugs. This especially applies to opioids as there are prescription drug monitoring programs and prescription drug laws in place to help fight substance abuse.

Another way to combat this issue is to train the younger generations. They are teaching children through things like the D.A.R.E. program, and other drug education programs help children learn how to identify and avoid drug abuse situations. 

This also means that we need to teach parents how to approach the drug subject properly. It should be an open conversation at home that allows children to ask important questions, so they do not assume anything. Educating parents can even be as simple as teaching them how to store and dispose of opioids properly. Something like that can be super simple training but with long-lasting impacts. 

What happens now that someone I know has been diagnosed?

When a close family member or friend gets diagnosed with substance use disorder, it is essential to acknowledge the struggle they will be going through. What they will need most of all is a support system that can help them out during this stressful time. 

If they have not yet, help them find a treatment center that they feel comfortable with choosing. Pineland’s Recovery Center of Medford in New Jersey has been proven to be a great facility that offers a variety of options to those who have been diagnosed with substance abuse. This is the kind of facility that you should find for your loved one so you can feel that they are in good hands.

If your family or friend already has a treatment plan, and they are staying true to it, then the only extra thing they need is support from their close family and friends. During the withdrawals and treatments, these patients may feel very alone. It would be a wonderful reassurance to them if they had a good support network cheering them along the way.