Substance Use Disorder

Opioids, Hallucinogens and PCP, Cannabis, & Inhalants

What is a subtance use disorder?

There are four main factors to determining someone's use of substance: intoxication, withdrawal, abuse, and dependence (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). There are many different substances one person can take such as opioids, hallucinogens and PCP, cannabis, and inhalants.


Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which decreases the effects of a painful stimulus (NIH, 2015). Some common types of medications are hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and related drugs.

If you are taking any of these medications please seek for additional information at:

Hallucinogens and PCP

What are Hallucinogens?

  • drugs that distort the user’s perception of reality
  • drugs that can cause hallucinations either auditory or visual
  • drugs that can cause intense emotional mood swings or behavioral changes in the user
  • drugs that disrupt the production of serotonin and cause distinct changes in the way that the brain processes sensory or emotions

There are many different types of hallucinogens, and one of them being PCP. PCP is known on the street as angel dust, wet, or illy (Hallucinogens, 2013). PCP is a complex mixture of chemicals that are synthesized to create a hallucinogenic colloquially. PCP can have a wide vary or effects. Some effects are bloodshot eyes, loss of balance, staggering, aggressive behavior, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations (Hallucinogens, 2013). PCP is a yellow oily substance that in pure form is typically dissolved in petroleum or another substance. When mixed with hydrogen chloride gas, PCP will turn into a white or tan colored crystalline powder known as PCP hydrochloride (Hallucinogens, 2013). Below is a picture of what PCP looks like.

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If you have taken any type of hallucinogens and are experiencing these side effects please call 800-895-1695 or seek help at this website below.


Cannabis are dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other related compounds (NIH, 2015). Cannabis is often called weed, Mary Jane, marijuana, and pot in North America (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Cannabis is one the most illegal used drug in the United States. Cannabis can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, which are called joints, or in pipes or water pipes, which are called bongs. They also smoke it in emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana, which are called blunts (NIH, 2015). Some people also mix cannabis in food such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. Cannabis has short-term and long-term effects. Some short-term effects are altered senses, changes in mood, impaired memory, and difficulty in thinking and problem solving. A long-term effect is that it affects brain development. Cannabis can reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions (NIH, 2015).

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Inhalant use is the intentional breathing of gas or vapors with the purpose of reaching a high. Inhalants are legal, everyday products which have a useful purpose, but can be misused. Some of these products are gas, glue, air freshener, paint, felt tip markers, and cooking spray (NIPC, 2015). Most of all the abused products produce effects similar to anesthetics, which slow down the body's function. Depending on the level of dosage, the user can experience slight stimulation, feeling of less inhibition or loss of consciousness (NIPC, 2015).

For more information on inhalants please visit the link below

Possible Causes

Biological Factors: The brain seems to have its own pleasure path way that affects the experience of reward (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). The pathway then begins in the ventral tegmental area then moves through an area of the limbic system and then on the to the frontal cortex. They say that some drugs directly increase the availability of dopamine in the pathway which gives that person their desired "high" (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).

Psychological Factors: This theory suggest that people will learn substance use behaviors through other people such as parents, guardians, friends, or loved ones (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). For example; if smoking cannabis is acceptable in the household where they grew up at, they are more likely to view cannabis use as a part of daily life.

Sociocultural Factors: It says that people that are under chronic stress will turn to opioids because it will give them the "high" they want so they can be calm (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). This theory proves that substance use is higher in poverty, women in abusive relationships, and teenagers whose parents are constantly fighting or violent.

Common Myths & Mispreceptions

There are many myths and misperceptions about people that use substances. But don't lose hope, because there are ways to overcome those myths. There are some stereotypes of people that are addicted to drugs. Some of these stereotypes are that the have legal problems and a criminal history. Also, that they steal from family and friends, wears dirty unkempt clothing and doesn’t invest much time into personal hygiene. Another common misperceptions is that they move from low paid job to low paid job or are more likely unemployable. They are also labeled as sad people who have nothing good in their life as well as being called junkies have no ambition in life (DARA, 2016). Another common myth is that drug addiction is more serious than alcohol addiction (DARA, 2016). When you hear all these misperceptions it may make you feel hopeless but most of these are false. For example; alcohol is more harmful than any other drug. It is just easier for people to live behind the lies than come out into the truth.

If you ever have any questions or concerns this hotline is always available: 1-888-761-7135

How can I get help?

There a lot of different treatment options that you can get help at. Some biological treatments would be by taking some type of medication. The medications can help you wean off a substance, reduce your desire for that substance, and maintain your use at a controlled level (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). One type of medication is an antagonist drug. This drug will block the effects of the addictive drug that you are on and reduce your desire for it. Other treatment options are psychological treatments. These treatments are to motivate you to stop using the drug and to teach you new coping skills to deal with stress and negative feelings (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). These treatments also try to make you realize that you need a positive support team with family and friends that are not using any addictive drug. One of these treatments are cognitive therapy. This is when therapists will work with you to help identify when and where you are most likely influenced to take these substances. Then they will teach you new skills to deal with these difficult situations to avoid using the substances.

What to look for in a therpist!

When you are searching for a therapist to help you with treatment, make sure they meet all the requirements and have all the credentials that the state requires. Below is a list of requirements that the State of Michigan has to become a therapist.

  • Master’s degree in Counseling or closely related Behavioral Science field with a clinical application.
    • Three years or 2,000 hours of supervised experience in AD counseling.
    • 180 hours of education in ICRC/AODA related courses
    • Have a minimum of 300 hours of supervision
    • 6 hours of counseling ethics.
    • Sign the Counselor Code of Ethical Standards.
    • Pass the ICRC/AADC (Advanced) Counselor written examination.

    For more information on making sure you chose the right therapist please visit the website below


    DARA. (2016). Common Myths about Drug Addiction. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

    Hallucinogens. (2013, May). PCP. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

    NIH. (2015, November). How do opioids affect the brain and body? Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

    NIH. (2015, September). Marijuana. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

    NIPC. (2015). About Inhalant Abuse - NIPC National Inhalant Prevention Coalition. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

    Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). NewYork: McGraw-Hill.