Long-Term Effects of Drugs

Wednesday, February 22nd 2023.

Opioids are narcotic, painkilling drugs produced from opium or made synthetically. This class of drugs includes, among others, heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone, fentanyl and oxycodone. People use cannabis by smoking, eating or inhaling a vaporized form of the drug. Cannabis often precedes or is used along with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, and is often the first drug tried. You may behave in a way that is out of character for you, like becoming hostile, paranoid, or even violent.

Opioid drugs like hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin), and fentanyl are all powerful prescription narcotics. Prescription opioids are designed for short-term pain relief or to treat pain in Selecting the Most Suitable Sober House for Addiction Recovery people with diseases like cancer. Gaining the ability to stop abusing drugs is just one part of the recovery process. When people enter treatment for a substance use disorder, addiction has often taken over their lives.

Short-term physical effects

Look for information on your state or local health department’s website or ask your healthcare provider for treatment and referral services available in your area. The use of more than one drug, also known as polysubstance use, is common. This includes when two or more are taken together or within a short time period, either intentionally or unintentionally. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

Staff provide safe, twenty-four-hour monitoring, observation, and support in a supervised environment for patients. (stigma alert) A non-technical term, also referred to as a “lapse”. It is used to imply a short-term resumption of substance use or heavy/hazardous use (e.g., for a night or a day) that is followed by a return to the original goal of moderate use or abstinence.

Short-Term and Long-Term drug use

Drug use can also lead to overdose, which can cause coma, brain damage, and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 100,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States between April 2020 and April 2021. When drugs build up in your body and have toxic effects, you can overdose, even in as little as one dose. The liver is one of the primary organs that metabolize substances like alcohol, meth, or opiates, including prescription painkillers. Although the liver can regrow tissue, consistent abuse causes lasting damage long-term which can lead to jaundice, fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

what is considered long term use of a drug

Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are the most common medications used to treat OUD. These medications operate to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used. Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are used to treat OUD to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. These medications are safe to use for months, years, or even a lifetime. As with any medication, consult your doctor before discontinuing use. A variety of treatment (or recovery) programs for substance use disorder are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

NSAIDs for Chronic Pain: Risks of Long-Term Use

The frequency of drug use, as reported during an ACS visit, was assigned to the end of a predefined 4-month interval that immediately preceded the ACS visit. This could be done for those predefined 4-month intervals to which the data collected in the ACS referred—that is, from 6 months before ACS enrollment to the last ACS follow-up visit or July 2002. In case of a longer interval between two consecutive ACS visits (e.g., 1 year), the data reported at the first visit following such an interval were assigned to all of our predefined 4-month intervals between those two ACS visits. Addiction can also affect all areas of your life, including family relationships, finances, career, and your reputation.

Non-pharmacological treatments, or “talk therapies,” such as those contained in counseling and psychotherapy. (stigma alert) This term may be stigmatizing when used to describe tolerance and withdrawal, as the term implies true dependence. However, this term does not meet the World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) diagnostic criteria for dependence, which would include at lease one psychological component. An intense euphoric feeling experienced by some individuals in early recovery from substance use disorder in which the patient experiences highly positive and optimistic sentiments. Oxford Houses are a type of self-sustaining recovery residence, first developed in 1975. They are non-professional, and require that residents are abstinent from alcohol and other drugs.

Drug addiction (substance use disorder)

However, if all or many of the “normal” microorganisms or cells are killed by a drug, a much higher proportion of the survivors are likely to be resistant. If the resistant survivors are not killed by the body’s natural defenses, which is more likely when drugs are stopped too soon or not taken in the proper manner, they may reproduce and pass on the resistant trait to their descendants. If you know or think someone is struggling with addiction, ask them if you can help. Your concern might be just what they need to start their recovery journey, and your support could make all the difference in their success.

what is considered long term use of a drug

She started off her career with a scholarship from the Western Psychological Association for her undergraduate work in perceptual processing. In 2014, she achieved her master of arts in psychology from Boston University, harnessing a particular interest in the effects that drugs and trauma have on the functioning brain. Once you’ve been addicted to a drug, you’re at high risk of falling back into a pattern of addiction. If you do start using the drug, it’s likely you’ll lose control over its use again — even if you’ve had treatment and you haven’t used the drug for some time.


It may also be used in describing urine test results that are not positive for substance use. An ongoing process used to determine the medical, psychological, and social needs of individuals with substance-related conditions and problems. The use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Medications used are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs. The longer an addiction to drugs or alcohol lasts, the more stress and strain it places on an individual.

  • While substance abuse does trigger lasting changes in the brain, there is hope.
  • It’s important to note that, no matter the drug, these effects can happen fast.
  • Substances — such as alcohol, stimulants and opioids — affect your brain, including your decision-making ability.

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