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Drug Addiction in Illinois
drug dependency for addicts

Drug Addiction in Illinois

Drug Addiction is a chronic and commonly relapsing illness that, in most cases, requires professional treatment and regular maintenance to overcome. Those who have a drug dependency experience a loss of control over their actions as their cravings become too intense and withdrawal symptoms, too much to bear. After using a particular drug over a long period of time, use must become more frequent to achieve the same effects; this is how a tolerance is built. Each substance may have different effects, but the dangerous withdrawal symptoms most likely will require the around-the-clock monitoring of the qualified medical professionals and addiction specialists at a drug addiction treatment center. Drug rehab not only stabilizes patients initially, but can provide them with the tools necessary to maintain a healthy physical and mental state of mind for the years to come. Drug addiction is a serious disease that should never be taken on alone. With the proper knowledge and support, substance abuse can be overcome.


Commonly Abused Drugs


A few of the most commonly abused illicit substances include:



Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant. Street names for the substance include blow, coke, and snow etc. The direct effect it has on the brain causes increased breathing and heart rates. According to a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over a million emergency room visits in the past year were directly related to cocaine use.

The drug specifically targets the area of the brain that affects pleasure, giving users a temporary high from a surge in dopamine levels. This increase in dopamine causes intense euphoria, but it is short-lived. Users will have to continuously do the drug in order to maintain these positive effects. Also, just like with most substances, after consistent use it will require more cocaine to achieve the initial feelings of euphoria experienced before the person developed a tolerance. The reason the substance can be so addictive is because users attempt to recreate those instant euphoric emotions, however, the body can only tolerate so much before negative symptoms set in.

When used in small dosages, short term effects of cocaine make the user feel alert and talkative, but the drug also lessens the need for food or sleep. These symptoms take effect immediately and not just with prolonged use. The lack of sleep and nutrition, in addition to increased blood pressure and heart rate, has immediate negative consequences on both the body’s mental and physical health. When coming down from a high, users may feel weak, lethargic, or depressed.

Long-term effects of cocaine usage may include loss of appetite, malnourishment, decreased dopamine receptors, loss of sense of smell, downturn in physical appearance, mood swings, and severe depression. Respiratory failure and blood clots have also been known to occur with increased usage. It is important to seek help for a cocaine addiction because withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous.



The National Institute of Drug Abuse classifies heroin as a highly addictive substance. The drug is a derivative of morphine, which is extracted from the pods of a poppy plant. Street names for heroin may include, smack, thunder, hell dust, brown sugar, black tar, big h, “h,” horse, skag, nose drops, etc. The drug can be consumed by smoking, snorting, or injection. It belongs to the class of drugs known as schedule I controlled substances, meaning that it has a very high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical purpose. Schedule I substances are illegal to distribute, manufacture, possess, or prescribe.

Heroin is also characterized as an opioid depressant. Drugs in this category lower the function of the central nervous system and are referred to as downers. Users may find heroin to be energizing at first, but an overdose of the drug will result in depressed cardiac and respiratory functions. Over 8 million people have died from a heroin overdose in the past year and that number is only increasing.

When someone begins abusing the substance, there are particular signs to look for that could point to a heroin dependence.

  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained drowsiness
  • Sores from excessively scratching the skin
  • Overall neglect in general appearance, which may include wearing dirty clothing, the look of sleep deprivation, disheveled hair, and body odor
  • Withdrawing from social interaction or losing interest in activities that were once important to the person


Many people turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative to prescription drug abuse. An addiction to prescription medication is not only expensive, but prescription drugs are becoming highly regulated. Due to this, many people turn to heroin; it is becoming more widely used each and every year.


In most cases, it is necessary that heroin addicts seek professional treatment for their addiction, as withdrawing from the drug can be dangerous and highly uncomfortable. A heroin dependency does not have to be a death sentence, but it may be if the proper rehabilitation and support is not sought out.


Crystal Meth


Crystal meth, chemically known as Methylamphetamine or Desoxyephine, is developed from amphetamine. Some popular street names for meth include chalk, crank, ice, poor man’s cocaine, speed, crystal glass, shards, uppers, quartz, and stove top. The drug is classified as a schedule II substance, meaning that in small quantities it may be useful in treating severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it is rarely prescribed and never used medically at the levels it is abused. This classification also means that crystal meth is addictive and has a very high potential for abuse. The stimulating effects of the drug can initially produce an intense high which involves exaggerated self-confidence and an increase in productivity, but abusing the substance can have quite the opposite effects.


Crystal meth can be smoked, snorted, or injected. The euphoric effects are brief, lasting only a few minutes, but the stimulating effects can persist for up to 12 hours. Once the body builds a tolerance to the substance, the addict will begin to compulsively and obsessively seek out the drug before the overwhelming cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms set in. It is not uncommon for an addict to engage in criminal behavior, simply to support their deadly habit.


Long-term abuse of the drug will have both negative mental and physical effects on the addict including:


  • Emaciation
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Mood swings, or extreme paranoia due to hallucinations
  • Serious dental problems, known as “meth mouth”
  • Liver, kidney, lung, and cardiac damage
  • Immune system deficiency
  • Hepatitis and HIV susceptible


A crystal meth addict will often appear overly active or obsessive compulsive and display visible signs of poor hygiene. If you or a loved one may be displaying signs of meth abuse, now is the time to contact a methamphetamine addiction treatment center. Addiction to the powerful stimulant can develop quickly, but highly skilled specialists are trained to stop its progression in its path. Recovery is possible with the right resources.