What are some dangerous trends in substance use in 2023?

Everyone loves to have fun, but it’s always important to remain safe and aware. Trends in substance use constantly evolve. It’s important to understand the trends and the actions you can take to stay safe, and be healthy. Here are some trends to keep an eye on:

  1. Increase in cannabis use: Cannabis use has been on the rise, especially in places where it has been legalized for recreational use. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years as more countries and states legalize its use.
  2. Opioid epidemic: Opioid abuse and overdose deaths have been a growing problem in many countries. Governments, healthcare providers, and law enforcement agencies have been taking steps to address the issue, such as increasing access to addiction treatment and limiting prescription opioids.
  3. Increase in e-cigarette use: The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has become increasingly popular among young people. Concerns have been raised about the health effects of vaping, and some governments have introduced regulations to restrict its use.
  4. Rise in alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption has been increasing in some parts of the world, especially among young people. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to health problems and social issues.
  5. Use of psychoactive substances: The use of psychoactive substances, such as LSD and MDMA, has been on the rise in some parts of the world, particularly in the context of electronic music festivals and other large events.

It is important to note that substance use trends can vary depending on factors such as geography, culture, and social norms, and that new trends can emerge over time. 

Is Fentanyl Being Cut Into Other Drugs?

Fentanyl has been increasingly found to be cut into other drugs, particularly opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, and counterfeit prescription pills. This practice is particularly dangerous because Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid, estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and can easily cause overdose and death. In many cases, people who use these drugs may not even be aware that Fentanyl has been added to them, increasing the risk of accidental overdose. The widespread use of Fentanyl as a cutting agent has been linked to the rising number of opioid overdose deaths in recent years. It is important for individuals who use drugs to take precautions to reduce their risk of overdose, such as using drugs with others present, carrying naloxone, and seeking medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Getting addicted to opioids like Fentanyl is easy; These drugs are highly addictive, and repeated use can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

When someone becomes addicted to opiates, they experience intense cravings for the drug and may engage in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using the drug, which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, anxiety, and insomnia.

Over time, the use of opiates can also lead to a range of negative physical and mental health effects. These can include respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening, as well as increased risk of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C due to shared needle use. Long-term opiate use can also lead to organ damage, impaired cognitive function, and changes in mood and behavior.

Addiction to opiates can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. However, with proper treatment, it is possible to overcome opiate addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Treatment may include medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and support from peers and addiction specialists.

Look After Your Friends and Call Out Questionable Behavior

It can be challenging to tell if a friend is using drugs, particularly if they are trying to hide their use. However, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate drug use. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Changes in behavior: Your friend may exhibit changes in behavior, such as becoming more withdrawn or irritable. They may also become less interested in activities they used to enjoy.
  2. Changes in physical appearance: Drug use can lead to changes in physical appearance, such as bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and a general unkempt appearance.
  3. Changes in sleep patterns: Drug use can interfere with sleep, so your friend may exhibit changes in their sleep patterns, such as sleeping more or less than usual.
  4. Mood swings: Your friend may exhibit sudden changes in mood, such as becoming unusually happy, sad, or anxious.
  5. Secretive behavior: Your friend may become more secretive, evasive, or defensive when asked about their activities or whereabouts.
  6. Unexplained financial problems: If your friend is using drugs, they may need to spend money to buy drugs, which can lead to financial problems or unexplained expenses.

It’s important to keep in mind that these signs and symptoms do not necessarily indicate drug use, and there may be other explanations for changes in behavior or appearance. If you are concerned about your friend’s drug use, it may be helpful to talk to them in a non-judgmental way and express your concerns. You may also want to encourage them to seek professional help or support from a trusted healthcare provider or addiction specialist.

Is Alcohol As Dangerous as Other Drugs?

Alcohol is a drug, and like all drugs, it can be dangerous if used inappropriately or in excess. While alcohol is legal and socially acceptable in many cultures, it is still responsible for a significant number of health and social problems worldwide.

Alcohol can be harmful in a number of ways. In the short term, excessive alcohol use can lead to impaired judgment, memory loss, and accidents, such as falls, motor vehicle crashes, and other types of injuries. In the long term, alcohol abuse can lead to liver disease, heart disease, cancer, and a range of other health problems.

Additionally, excessive alcohol use can lead to addiction, or alcohol use disorder, which is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use despite the negative consequences. Alcohol addiction can have a significant impact on a person’s life, including their relationships, work, and overall well-being.

While alcohol can be dangerous, the risks associated with alcohol use depend on a number of factors, such as the amount and frequency of use, the individual’s health status, and the context in which the alcohol is consumed. Some drugs, such as opioids and methamphetamine, can have more immediate and severe health consequences than alcohol, but all drugs have the potential to be dangerous if misused. It is important to use all drugs, including alcohol, in moderation and to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with drug use.

Get Help if You or Someone You Know is Struggling

There are several effective ways to treat substance use, and the most appropriate treatment will depend on the individual’s needs, preferences, and the type and severity of substance use disorder. Here are some common approaches to treating substance use:

  1. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): This involves the use of medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine for opioid addiction, to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT is often combined with behavioral therapy and counseling.
  2. Behavioral therapy: This involves working with a therapist or counselor to develop strategies for managing cravings and avoiding relapse. Different types of behavioral therapy may be used, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or contingency management.
  3. Support groups: Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can provide a supportive environment for people in recovery and help them stay motivated to maintain sobriety.
  4. Residential treatment: In some cases, individuals with substance use disorder may benefit from a stay in a residential treatment center, where they can receive intensive therapy and support.
  5. Dual diagnosis treatment: This involves treating both substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
  6. Peer support: Peer support programs, such as recovery coaching or peer mentoring, can provide individuals with substance use disorder with support from others who have gone through similar experiences.

It’s important to note that recovery from substance use disorder is a process that takes time, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Effective treatment may involve a combination of these approaches, and it is important to work with a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Being mindful and aware can help YOU and your LOVED ones live in Merriment!