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Most commonly abused illicit drugs in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Since 2012, drug use in North Carolina has been on the rise. It costs the state billions of dollars and is the third-leading cause of death.

According to The Blanchard Institute, in North Carolina, a handful of substances are responsible for nearly 90% of admissions to drug treatment programs. The most commonly used drug is marijuana, and abuse of prescription drugs is also prevalent. The other three substances are illicit drugs.

1. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine into the pleasure centers of the brain in very large quantities. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, this results in a euphoric rush that can last up to half a day if snorted or ingested orally. Injection or smoking results in a more intense but briefer sensation. A portion of manufacture and distribution takes place in clandestine domestic laboratories.

2. Cocaine

Like methamphetamine, cocaine is a stimulant drug. Therefore, the effects of each are similar to one another. The body builds up a tolerance with frequent use of cocaine, meaning that more of the drug is necessary to obtain the same high. This may be the reason that cocaine is the illegal drug responsible for the highest number of accidental poisoning deaths.

3. Heroin

Heroin is different from methamphetamine and cocaine in that it is a narcotic. Many narcotic drugs are available with a prescription to treat pain, but heroin has no accepted medical use. Heroin produces drowsiness and may cause respiratory depression.

Many people who use heroin first became addicted to prescription narcotics. They switch to taking heroin because it is cheaper and more accessible.