Substance use problems, such as Drug Use, occur when a person is using alcohol or drugs at levels that are associated with short-term and long-term harm. Drug use not only relates to how much of the drug one is using, but also the use of the drug and how this affects one’s life and the people around them.
Types of drugs involve: cannabis; opioid drugs; pharmaceutical drugs used for non-medical purposes; cocaine; amphetamines; hallucinogens; ecstasy; inhalants and tobacco
For a person to have a substance use disorder, the substance use problems must have had an adverse effect on their life during the past year in two or more of the following areas:
- The substance is often taken in larger amounts or for a longer period than intended
- The person wants to cut down use, but finds it difficult
- A lot of time is spent obtaining the substance, using it or recovering from its effects
- The person experiences a craving (i.e. strong urge) to use the substance
- There is repeated use, which affects the person’s ability to fulfil their work, school or home responsibilities (e.g. repeated absences from work, poor work performance, neglect of children or household)
- The person makes repeated use of the substance despite this causing ongoing problems with other people (e.g. arguments, fights).
- Other important activities are neglected because of the substance use.
- There is repeated use in situations where it is physically hazardous (e.g. driving a car or using machinery while affected by a substance)
- The person persists in their continued use despite knowing that they have a mental or physical health problem caused by the substance
- The person has a tolerance for the substance (i.e. the person needs to use increasing amounts to get the desired effect or they get less effect with the same amount of the substance).
- There are withdrawal symptoms or the substance is needed in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a mental health professional. Our professionals are available to help you 24/7.