Drug Addiction

About Drug Addiction

No one really chooses to become an addict. Usually, illicit drug addiction begins with social or casual drug use. Because of the nature of most illicit drugs, addiction is always a possibility, and the likelihood increases with regular use. Addiction changes the way an individual’s brain functions, which in turn affects their behaviors. It is important to understand that drug addiction is a disease where most users often get worse, never better. 



Heroin is a very potent opiate drug that when used has an intense effect on an individuals brain chemistry. Heroin abuse causes the brain’s reward system to reduce it’s own production of dopamine and endorphins. This is because heroin use tricks the brain into believing that enough of these feel-good chemicals are already present, resulting in a drop of natural chemical production. Heroin is derived from the poppy plant, the same plant used to make opium and other opiate drugs. Illicit drug facts about heroin suggest that heroin addiction has become an epidemic in America over the past decades, and the need for heroin detox centers like Coastline’s in Huntington Beach is on the rise.


Cocaine is produced from the coca plant which is grown mainly in South America. Interestingly, the leaves of the coca plant were often chewed by laborers who spent time working in higher altitudes as a stimulant. Now, cocaine is manufactured in illegal labs in the jungles of countries such as Columbia, Honduras and Peru. Cocaine is a white powder that causes energy, alertness and euphoria when snorted or injected. Cocaine is very addictive and the risk of cocaine addiction when using is a real possibility. The illicit drug facts regarding cocaine abuse indicate that cocaine addiction carries health risks such as cardiac arrest or stoke.


Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is powder cocaine mixed with water and baking soda which then dries and is broken up into small rocks. These rocks are smoked rather than snorted or injected. Crack cocaine addiction has become a very popular illicit street drug over the past decades, as it is powerful and relatively easy to obtain. The name crack cocaine comes from the sound that it makes when heated to smoke. There has been research that suggests that crack cocaine is more psychologically addiction than powder cocaine, but some dispute this. Should you know someone struggling with crack cocaine addiction contact our rehab center in Huntington Beach for more help.



Ecstasy is the illicit name for MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is a powerful psychoactive drug. Ecstasy causes a stimulant effect, as well as euphoria when it is taken. Illicit drug facts regarding MDMA indicate that ecstasy is often cut with other substances such as cocaine, LSD, heroin and amphetamines. This is probably because pure MDMA is difficult to find outside a laboratory. There are not any medically accepted uses for MDMA so it is classified as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Ecstasy abuse can cause ecstasy addiction depending on the type of substances it is combined with.

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Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that cause individuals to experience hallucinations or distortions of reality. There are hallucinogens that are found in plants and some mushrooms, but there are also manufactured drugs such as LSD or PCP. It has become apparent over the years of research that the exact mechanisms by which hallucinogens work are not understood. It is clear, however, that they work by disrupting the communication between brain systems that regulate mood, perception, sexual behavior, and body temperature, to name a few. The illicit drug facts regarding hallucinogen abuse and long term effects is also still something researchers are discovering.



Marijuana is a plant used both medicinally and recreationally within the United States. While some studies suggest that marijuana is not addictive, other reports indicate that the rising potency of marijuana can contribute to marijuana abuse or marijuana dependence. Marijuana can be smoked or eaten, or brewed as a tea. Illicit drug facts about marijuana’s negative effects on attention and learning are coming to light as of late. There seems to be evidence that marijuana users are less likely to complete school, or complete with lower than average grades. In addiction, there is evidence that marijuana dependence is linked to unemployment, criminal activity and other socio-economic issues. 


Meth / Methamphetamine

Meth or methamphetamine, is considered to be one of the most addictive illicit drugs on the streets of America. There are many individuals that report their meth addiction started with their first high. Meth creates feelings of intense euphoria and awareness, caused by chemicals released in the reward center of the brain. Illicit drug facts about meth’s effect on brain chemistry when used indicate that meth abuse releases nearly three times as much dopamine as cocaine abuse does. Repeated exposure to meth and meth addiction will cause a rewiring of the brain’s reward system, making meth withdrawal and meth detox very difficult without the support of inpatient drug rehab programs.

How and Why Do People Become Addicted To Drugs?

Not everyone who tries drugs ends up with a drug problem. Vulnerability among drug users can differ from one person to another, and no specific factor can determine if a person is going to become addicted. For the most part, though, the more risk factors you have, the greater the chances are that you will become addicted to drugs. The risk factors can be biological, such as genetics, or environmental, such as the physical conditions of your home.


There are many environmental factors that increase the risk of drug use becoming a drug problem. These include:

  • The home and family: one of the most important factors, especially during childhood, is the home environment. When a parent or other family member abuses drugs or alcohol, it greatly increases the odds that the children will develop their own issues with drugs or alcohol.
  • School and friends: during the adolescent years, friends have a strong influence over their peers. Those peers who use can sway others into using drugs for the first time, even if there are no risk factors. Failing academically or having poor social skills can also increase the risk of a child having a drug problem.


Biological Factors

Studies have shown that 40 to 60% of users have a genetic factor that increases their vulnerability to addiction. Medical conditions and the person stage of development can also be factors. When a person has a pre-existing mental disorder or is an adolescent, their risk of abusing drugs is greater than the general population.


Other Risk Factors

There are other factors that can increase the risk of addiction. These include:

  • Using at an early age: studies show that when someone begins using drugs early in life, they are more likely to develop a serious drug problem. This may be in part because of the harmful effects of the drugs have on their developing brain. It can also be because of biological and social factors, such as a mental illness, genetic susceptibility, physical or sexual abuse, or unstable family relationships.
  • How the drug is administered: a drug’s addictive potential can be increased if it is injected or smoked. Injecting or smoking drugs causes the drug to reach the brain within seconds, providing an immediate rush of pleasure. The high they get from this dissipates within minutes, though, making them more likely to repeat the usage to get back to the pleasurable state.

Many factors can make someone more vulnerable to becoming a drug addict. If you find yourself in a situation, it’s not too late. At Coastline Behavioral Health, we’re here to help you overcome your addiction. Give us a call so we can walk you through our treatment plans today

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