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Drug Trends

Drug Trends in Spartanburg

With information so readily available, youth are saturated with new ideas and trends.
Unfortunately, drug use is not excluded from this.

When discussing substance use, people often refer to someone as having a Substance Use Disorder. Formerly, someone with a Substance Use Disorder was referred to as an "addict". Today, we choose to use Substance Use Disorder as it recognizes the multifaceted nature of this brain disease. 

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.”



While the first time someone uses a drug it may be a choice, substance use can evolve into chronic use where the person using the substance seeks it out despite the adverse outcomes. 

One of the main ways that a drug takes hold in a person is through neural pathways. Drugs override or hijack the reward system in the brain through reuptake inhibition or increasing production of neurotransmitters. 

The new DSM describes a problematic pattern of use of an intoxicating substance leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following, occurring within a 12-month period (from the National Institute on Drug Abuse):


  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance.
  5. Recurrent use of the substance resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued use of the substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use of the substance.
  8. Recurrent use of the substance in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
    1. A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
    2. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
    1. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM- 5 for each substance).
    2. The substance (or a closely related substance) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Youth are learning new ways to use alcohol and other drugs and learning of new drugs much faster than most adults. This sort of experimentation can be perilous. 

For previous Drug Trends Newsletters visit our Resources page.