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Drug Abuse FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Abuse


Updated June 23, 2014

The following are the most frequently asked questions about drug abuse, compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For information about individual drugs, please see Drugs of Abuse FAQs.

What drugs are commonly abused?
Many drugs that are abused are not illegal drugs.

What is drug addiction?
What are the characteristics of addiction?

How quickly can I become addicted to a drug?
The answer may not be that simple.

How do I know if someone is addicted to drugs?
How do healthcare professionals determine if someone is addicted?

What are the physical signs of abuse or addiction?
Addictions symptoms can vary depending upon the drug.

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?
Treatment might vary from person to person.

Where can I find information about drug treatment programs?
Call an 800 number or search the directory.

What is detoxification, or detox?
Why do people need to go through detoxification?

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?
Withdrawal can vary depending upon the drug and the person's use.

What are the costs of drug abuse to society?
What are the implications for the community?

If a pregnant woman abuses drugs, does it affect the fetus?
What are the effects on the unborn child?

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