Substance Abuse

Substance abuse refers to the overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health, or the welfare of others.

Why Do People Use Alcohol and Other Drugs?
Basically, people use substances such as alcohol and other drugs because they like the way these substances make them feel. Pleasure is a powerful force. Your brain is wired so that if you do something that feels good, you will probably want to do it again. All drugs that are addicting can activate and affect the brain's pleasure circuit.

What is Drug Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and your behavior. You have control over your choice to start using drugs, but once you start their pleasurable effect makes you want to keep using them. When you become addicted to alcohol or other drugs, your brain actually changes in certain ways so that a powerful urge to use drugs controls your behavior. Someone who is addicted uses drugs without thinking of the consequences, such as problems with health, money, relationships, and performance at work or at school.

What Drugs Cause Addiction?
People can become addicted to illegal drugs and to drugs that doctors prescribe. People can also become addicted to things they may not think of as drugs, such as alcohol and the nicotine in cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Some drugs may cause addiction more easily than others.


Understanding Addiction


This guide is developed for students to understand substance dependencies and addiction - how to avoid getting trapped into unhealthy habits and other tips on staying safe and responsible. As you would probably agree, drugs and alcohol abuse among college students carry devastating consequences. We're hoping this resource will contribute useful insights especially to students facing such difficult time coping with school challenges and life changes. It has also been cited by other high quality sites as a trusted source of information. You can see a few examples below:

Know Drugs Parents' App

Know Drugs: The Parents Guide, September 13, 2013

"Know Drugs: The Parents Guide iPhone/iPad app provides parents and carers with all of the essential information and advice you need to understand the important issues around young people’s drug use.
Using video, graphics and photos this essential app equips you with a comprehensive collection of resources that you can use to educate your teenager about the world of drugs." Read More

Online Resources

Medication Safety 

Medication and Medical Device Safety Information 

Prescription Drug Recalls/Interactions/Complications/Side Effects


Addiction Center  
Addiction Resources for family, friends, and those addicted 

Alcohol Rehab and Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous  - Find teen rehab centers near you.

Aware Recovery Care

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS)  

Drug and Alcohol Detox Assistance 

Drug and Alcohol recovery and treatment

Drug Rehab  

Governor's Prevention Partnership Resources Page

Governor's Prevention Partnership – Parent Resource Center  

Learn to Cope - Support network for families dealing with drug addictions 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving 

My Bottom Line - Red Flags for Opiate Abuse and Facilities for Substance Abuse 

Narcotics Anonymous

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 

National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Rehab Centers

Nationwide Addiction Rehab Centers

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Parent Support Network 

Project Courage 

Rehab Center - How to talk to your kids about Substance Abuse


Sleep Help Institute

Southeastern Mental Health Authority 

South Shores Recovery, Southern CA

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Alcohol Conversation starters - Five conversation goals 

Support Group Project

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - National Clearing House for Drug and Alcohol Information

Tobacco Cessation 

Tobacco Free Life