Drug Information

A drug is a substance that can change how a person’s body and mind work.

Substance use or drug misuse is defined as improper or unhealthy use from use of an illegal drug, controlled substance as prescribed or alcohol in moderation. These include the repeated use of drugs for pleasure, reducing stress, and to escape reality.

Substance abuse is using substances for other than their intended purpose.

Diversion involves obtaining substances, particularly controlled substances, and using them or distributing them for purposes other than their intended medical purposes.

Withdrawal is a physical syndrome caused when a substance to which the body has become dependent is suddenly stopped. Being physically dependent and having withdrawal is not the same thing as addiction.

Substance use disorder (SUD), or addiction, is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Drugs cause physical changes in the brain that alter its structure and how it works. SUD is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Recovery is possible. And like other diseases, treatment for drug use and SUD not only saves lives, but is cost effective.

Xylazine, Cocaine, Methamphetamine and illicit Fentanyl are currently leading substances involved in drug overdoses in Virginia.

Signs That a Person Is Using Opioids

  • Spending time alone and avoiding family and friends
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Being overly tired or sad
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Talking quickly and incoherently
  • Missing appointments
  • Missing work or school
  • Sleeping at odd hours
  • Having visible needle marks on the body (a sign of injection of opioids)
  • Having dilated pupils

Signs of Opioid Withdrawal

Someone in treatment or who stops taking opioids may experience withdrawal symptoms. When  administered and monitored in a treatment setting, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, Suboxone, or naltrexone can help alleviate cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be physically painful but is usually not life-threatening.

Early symptoms of withdrawal may include:.

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Increased tearing (secretion or shedding of tears)
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Later symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

For more drug basic education and Frequently Asked Questions, visit The Opioid Crisis: FAQs | Curb The Crisis : Curb The Crisis