What is substance abuse?
Substance abuse is a condition that affects the well-being and health of millions of Americans, consisting of the abuse and the misuse of alcohol and/or other drugs. Learn about the different types below.
Alcohol abuse puts a person at risk for health problems, including brain and liver damage, heart disease, hypertension, and fetal damage in pregnant women. This includes men who drink 5 or more drinks on a single occasion and women who drink 4 or more drinks on a single occasion.
Drug abuse includes illegal drugs (methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, or other "street drugs"). Individuals use drugs to get high or relieve stress and emotional problems. Dependence or addiction occurs when an individual develops a "need" for a drug. They may not be aware that there is a problem until they try to stop taking it, and find there is an emotional or physical dependence.
Prescription drug abuse
Prescription drug abuse is a very serious and growing public health concern in the United States. Individuals age 14 and older are strongly represented in the millions of Americans using prescription drugs for reasons not prescribed by a doctor. The most common substances are opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants, all of which lead to addiction.
It's extremely important to monitor all medications you keep in your home, including all over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions.
Looking for support?
If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse, get the support you need. Visit the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Association for:
- Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
- Support Programs, Information, and Resources
Additional Support Resources
Medication & Counseling
Opioid Treatment Directory
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
Buprenorphine Treatment Practioner Locator
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
New York State HOPEline
- Call: 1-877-HOPENY (846-7369)
- Behavioral Health Clinical Criteria Set Request Form Criteria Review
- Anxiety Screening
- Depression Screening
- 1-877-837-0814 (TTY 711)
- Find a doctor
- Provider directory
Let's Talk Stigma
Many people suffer from a mental health diagnosis in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. Let's Talk Stigma is starting a conversation to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.