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Drug Addiction in Missouri


Drug abuse and addiction is a serious problem in modern American society. From legal drugs like alcohol and Valium through to illicit street drugs like heroin and cocaine, people can get hooked on a wide range of psychoactive substances. Drug addiction in Missouri often requires specialized treatment in order to break the bonds of addiction, including medical detox programs and rehabilitation schemes. Treatment measures are available on a residential or out-patient basis, with pros and cons associated with each approach. If you know anyone who is struggling with drug addiction in Missouri or elsewhere, it’s important to contact a professional drug treatment center as soon as you can.

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, involves the repeated consumption of psychoactive substances despite the problems they are known to cause. People who abuse drugs are putting themselves at risk of social and health problems, including addiction and overdose. While the exact causes of substance abuse are unknown, abuse patterns are thought to have both environmental and genetic origins. People abuse a wide range of psychoactive substances, including the legal drug alcohol, a variety of prescription medications, and a number of illegal street drugs. Commonly abused drugs in Missouri include alcohol, heroin, cocaine, Valium, Oxycontin, Vicodin, methamphetamine, and marijuana among others.

Drug addiction is a specific and severe form of drug abuse that involves the experience of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped. People who are addicted to drugs generally need to consume them on a regular basis to avoid experiencing a withdrawal syndrome. Some psychoactive substances are known to produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, with others associated with an emotional-motivational withdrawal period. Before treating a drug problem, it’s important to understand the difference between dependence and addiction. For example, it’s possible for someone to develop a physical drug dependency without becoming addicted, a situation that exists with many psychiatric patients. While addiction implies either physical or psychological dependence, it also requires drug cravings, compulsive use patterns, and psychological attachment.

Street Drug Classifications

Street drugs can be classified according to their action, with some drugs known to cause central nervous system (CNS) depression and others known to stimulate the brain and body. CNS depressants include heroin and marijuana, along with many prescription opioid and sedative medications. CNS stimulants include methamphetamine, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, MDMA, and prescription stimulants. A third class of drugs known as hallucinogens are also available on the street, including the powerful psychedelic LSD. While hallucinogens are not thought to cause dependence or addiction like depressants or stimulants, their use can still be dangerous. Generally speaking, CNS depressants are more likely to cause physical addiction and CNS stimulants more likely to cause psychological addiction. While marijuana is an exception to this rule, this is an important distinction to make.

Street Drug Statistics in Missouri

A number of illegal street drugs are available in the state of Missouri, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, MDMA, “bath salts” and many more. The substances are regularly bought and sold on private premises, in bars and clubs, and during drug deals on the street. The illegal nature of these drugs often gets people into trouble, with the prisons of America full of people who have been prosecuted for illegal drug possession and supply. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there have been consistently high indicators for heroin abuse in many parts of Missouri, with an increase in methamphetamine indicators also recognized in the St. Louis region. Cocaine use is also a major problem, with primary marijuana treatment admissions stable for the most part.

According to NIDA statistics, primary heroin treatment admissions increased significantly between 2008 and 2013 – from 1,088 admissions to 2,274 admissions. With prescription opioids also continuing to cause major concern, it’s clear the state of Missouri has a major opioid problem. Methamphetamine indicators are also on the rise, with meth representing 257 primary admissions, up from 173 in 2008. Powder cocaine and crack cocaine admissions have decreased in Missouri, with primary cocaine treatment admissions decreasing significantly from 1,235 in the first half of 2008 to just 481 in the first half of 2013. Marijuana use has also decreased, from 23.7 percent of total admissions in 2008 to 16.5 percent in the first half of 2013.


Heroin is the most problematic substance in Missouri at the moment, representing 34.6 percent of total drug treatment admissions. Heroin is a potent opioid drug widely abused to induce feelings of euphoria, with this drug closely associated with overdose fatalities, physical addiction, and a severe physical withdrawal syndrome. People who get addicted to heroin often struggle for months or years in order to overcome their addiction. A combination of pharmacotherapeutic and psychotherapeutic techniques are needed to break the bonds of heroin addiction, from the early days of medical detox through to the later stages of rehab and aftercare. Relapse prevention systems are also an important part of heroin treatment, with therapists helping addicts to recognize potential triggers and cope with the challenges of everyday life following formal rehab.


Methamphetamine, also known simply as meth, is a powerful CNS stimulant taken recreationally by people to increase energy, enhance sexual desire, and improve general mood. Meth is highly addictive in a psychological sense, with dependent users experiencing severe drug cravings and other emotional and motivational withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. While meth is not physically addictive, professional drug treatment is recommended to enable abstinence and support the recovery process. Behavioral therapies play an important role during meth treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), family therapy, relapse prevention and many more.

Reach Out To a Professional

If you know anyone in Missouri who is living with a drug abuse or addiction problem, it’s important to reach out to a professional treatment center as soon as you can.