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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Alcohol Drug Abuse Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Drug addiction

While addiction to caffeine, work, sex (or even the Internet) are less of a threat to life and limb, drugs and alcohol remain unhealthy habits that are uncommonly hard to kick.

One reason is that the line between normal use and abuse is sometimes difficult to define. Even the medical establishment has change its tune on the benefits of drinking red wine to lower cholesterol, while harder alcoholic drinks are sometimes recommended (in strict moderation) to relieve stress.

Most recently, reports of the over-prescription -- or illegal trade in -- drugs like oxycontin and other narcotics threaten to produce an entire generation of people addicted to pain relievers. Meanwhile, it seems the debate over legalizing marijuana is heating up to a degree that hints at passage of new legislation in the not too distant future.

As ever, most abusers start out thinking that they will never become hooked on any substance. Then an economic downturn, the loss of a job or a loved one, or even every life stressors may result in an attempt to 'self-medicate'. The party scene in particular makes recreational use of alcohol, and illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana socially acceptable, which sometimes also leads to abuse.

Later, interventions by well meaning friends, family or co-workers may be greeted with anger and denial. By the time an addiction is recognized, sheer force of will may not be enough to beat an addiction, and the person may be too dependent on the substance to take the necessary steps to clean up their act on their own.

There are many proven resources available to help transition to a drug abuse or alcoholism free life. Not all of them work for everyone, but there will be one of them that will work for each person who is trying to sober up or stay clean.

More about drug abuse help around the Web:

Check out these resources that may offer help with taking the first step...

The Addiction Recovery Guide
- This site is basically a link index to drug information and recovery resources, but the design, ease of navigation and depth of information rate this a top placement.

AA - Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the best known of the 12 step programs. Although many argue that it replaces dependence on alcohol with dependence on faith, the process works for many alcoholics. The spin-off programs for families affected by alcoholism are life savers for those who love an alcoholic.

NA - Narcotics Anonymous is modeled on the success of the AA 12 step program and offers a directory 800 number helplines around the globe along with related local and regional links, professional resources, publications and reports.

MedLine Plus Drug Abuse - The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have gathered an impressive array of links and articles on treatments and clinical trials, prevention and screening, with additional focus on resources for teens, women and seniors.


This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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