Substance Use (Drugs and Alcohol)


Substance use, including a variety of drugs and alcohol, is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some way.
Substance use can include drugs such as

  • Amphetamines
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Club drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs

Substance use can also include alcohol. For many adults, moderate alcohol use is not harmful; however, about 18 million adults in the United States have alcohol problems. Alcoholism carries many serious dangers. Heavy drinking can cause damage to the liver, brain and other organs. It can cause birth defects. It increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide and suicide.

Substance use plays a role in many major social problems, such as violence, stress and child abuse. Substance use can lead to homelessness, crime and missed work or problems with keeping a job. It harms unborn babies and destroys families. There are different types of treatment, but the best is to prevent substance use in the first place.

Source: MedlinePlus

Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Take a Confidential Screening Test

This confidential online screening may help you decide whether it's time to seek professional assistance for an issue related to alcohol, or for other mental health issues. This screening tool is provided through Mental Health Connections, a program of the Health District of Northern Larimer County and SummitStone Health Partners.

Recommended Reading

National Institute on Drug Abuse
Find resources, information on impaired driving, facts for teens, substance use in the military, and more.

Substance Abuse and Addiction, WebMD
WebMD has a Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center with a variety of information. Topics include alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse, teen substance use and more.

Are You at Risk for Substance Abuse?

Teenagers and young adults are at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Women become addicted faster and develop substance use–related diseases sooner than men. Adults older than 65 are at high risk for self-medication (using drugs or alcohol to help reduce the symptoms of another illness).

Online Alcohol Screening, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
This website is a free service of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The self-test helps individuals assess their own alcohol consumption patterns to determine if their drinking is likely to be harming their health or increasing their risk for future harm.

Other Resources

Find a Behavioral Health Treatment Center, SAMHSA
This link will help you find a treatment center in your area.

How to Cut Down on Your Drinking, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
This link lists questions to help decide whether someone has a drinking problem. It includes steps to help cut down or stop drinking.

Local Resources

Find Local Substance Use Resources, HealthInfoSource.com
Search for local substance abuse counselors and treatment options.

Poudre River Public Library District
Search the library collection for books about substance abuse, or use the library's health, sciences and technology databases.

Still Looking?

Best Health Sites
This collection of web links, organized by site type, will help you find the health information you're looking for.

Health and Healthcare Statistics
Looking for health and healthcare statistics at the local, state and national level? This collection of web links will help you find the health data you're looking for. Great for researchers, grant writers, students and the curious.

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