Drug Dependence

Mike Burgoyne

Symptoms of Substance Dependence Associated with Use of Cigarettes, Alcohol, and
Illicit Drugs --- United States, 1991--1992

Each year in the United States, approximately 400,000 deaths result from
cigarette smoking, 100,000 from misuse of alcohol, and 20,000 from use of
illicit drugs. Many of the adverse health effects associated with the use of
tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs result from long-term use caused by
substance dependence (i.e., addiction)---a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and
physiological symptoms indicating sustained psychoactive substance use despite
substance-related problems. In addition, substance dependence is characterized
by repeated self-administration that usually results in tolerance, withdrawal,
and compulsive drug-taking behavior. Nicotine is the psychoactive substance in
cigarettes and other forms of tobacco that accounts for the addictive properties
of tobacco. In addition to tobacco, other potentially addictive substances
include alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. To assess the prevalence of selected
indicators of substance dependence among the U.S. population, CDC and the
National Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed data from the National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) for 1991--1992. The findings in this report suggest
that a symptom of substance dependence is more likely to be reported by persons
who smoke cigarettes and persons who use cocaine than by persons who use alcohol
or marijuana.

Category: Social Issues