All About Substance Abuse

What is Substance Abuse?

Simply defined, substance abuse is a pattern use of any harmful substance for the purpose of altering one’s mood. Substance abuse also pertains to the hazardous or harmful use of psychoactive substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol. Repeated use of these harmful substances could lead to a cluster of cognitive, behavioral and physiological experiences classified as dependence or addiction.

Why it is Important to Deal with this Problem?

  • There are as many short-term effects of illicit substance as there are various classifications and types. The most common of these effects include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, tremors, dizziness, and paranoia and mood changes. The higher the dosage of the illicit substance, the higher the risk for dangerous effects, even increasing the potential for stroke, heart attack, respiratory failure and even coma. Long term substance abuse could easily lead to psychosis, organ damage and immune deficiencies.
  • The toll for substance abuse is seen in American hospitals and emergency rooms by way of damage to health as well as physical trauma relating to substance abuse.
  • Cocaine and hallucinogens users spanning all age groups have increased in 20141. There is a strong link between crime and substance abuse and dependence. People serving jail time are more likely to be illicit substance users.
  • Substance abuse is related to broken homes, severed relationships, diminished finances, inefficiency in or loss of work. Drug use hurt children and even unborn children.

Who should be concerned for this?

Substance abuse and misuse impacts not only the families and friends of substances abusers but the whole community as well. A person who is not functioning at his best due to drug addiction is a danger to those around him. He becomes a liability not only to his co-workers or co-students but to the network he moves in. He becomes a burden to the society and the state, as well as the federal government. As good and concerned citizens, substance abuse issues are our concerned.

When should it be tested? 

Statistics indicate that more Americans are dying than ever because of substance abuse and misuse. About 114 people die every day because of drug overdose. Close to 7,000 persons are taken to emergency rooms each day due to drug misuse or abuse 2. The fact that only 1 out of 10 people dealing with substance abuse related problems seek and receive help they need.  If you or a loved one is fighting drug, alcohol or nicotine addiction, it is time to get help. You can start by undergoing drug testing.

Where should it be Tested?

Initial drug tests can be done at home or in the workplace by using drug test kits. If results are positive, a second drug test is normally given to qualify the initial reading. Depending on preference, the second drug testing can be done in a laboratory or hospital setting. If results are below the presented guidelines in the chart, then the results are negative3.

Initial Test Cut off Concentration


Initial Test

Confirming Test
(GC / MS)


50 ng/ml

15 ng/ml


300 ng/ml

150 ng/ml


2000 ng/ml

2000 ng/ml (morphine)
2000 (codeine)


1000 ng/ml

500 ng/ml


25 ng/ml

25 ng/ml


Brief Overview Of The Other Sections

Under Overview, symptoms, causes, testing and treatment of substance abuse will be thoroughly discussed. Under Substance Abuse Testing, alcohol, nicotine,  drug  and steroid abuse, symptoms, testing and  treatment and will be discussed.