Have you abused drugs? Has drug abuse affected your day to day life? Has it affected others? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

What is Drug Abuse?

“What is drug abuse?” is an important question for any loved one of a person with a possible substance use problem. Drug abuse information clearly states drug abuse is an extreme desire to obtain, and use, increasing amounts of one or more substances. Drug abuse is a generic term for the abuse of any drug, including alcohol and cigarettes.

When considering, “what is drug abuse?” one should remember drug abuse is not the same thing as drug dependence or drug addiction. Drug dependence or addiction indicates a psychological or physical dependence on the drug to function. Drug dependence requires the symptoms of withdrawal if the drug is discontinued, whereas drug abuse does not.

What Drugs Are Abused?

Drug abuse can be abuse of any chemical substance including cigarettes, inhalants, alcohol and others. Drug abuse information shows both legal and illegal drugs can lead to drug abuse. In short, any drug that can be used can also be a drug of abuse.

Categories of drugs commonly seen in drug abuse cases include:

  • Legal, over-the-counter – Includes drugs like alcohol and cigarettes
  • Legal, prescription – includes drugs like methadone, oxycodone and Zolpidem
  • Chemical – includes drugs like inhalants
  • Illegal – includes drugs like marijuana, opiates (like heroin), stimulants (like methamphetamines and cocaine) and hallucinogenic (like acid).www.theaoc.org (5)

Who Does It Effect?

Anyone can become a drug abuser. Drug abuse information indicates that all ethnicities, ages, social groups and genders can have drug abuse problems. Drug abuse is not a character flaw but rather a medical condition that has developed over time. While no one knows why one person becomes a drug abuser while another doesn’t, drug abuse does tend to run in families. (read about the causes of drug abuse)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates the following risk factors for developing drug abuse problems (typically seen in adolescence):

  • Unstable home environment, often due to drug abuse or mental illness of the parent.
  • Poor relationship with parents.
  • Inadequate supervision over adolescent’s activities.
  • Use of drugs by friends / peers.
  • Permissive attitude towards their own drug use and the drug use of the adolescent.
  • Behavioural problems combined with poor parenting.
  • Poor achievement in school.
  • Apparent ambivalence or approval of drug use in the school, peer group or community.
  • Availability of drugs in the community, peer group or home.

Drug Abuse can affect both genders, all races and religions.

According to results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) the rate of current non-medical use of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs was 2.6% in men and 2.3% in women. Data from a 2012 Drug Abuse Warning Network report showed that the proportion of emergency department visits involving non-medical use of pharmaceuticals varied by gender: for youth aged 15 to 17, the difference between girls (45%) and boys (31%) was significant.

Many young people think that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs because they are prescribed by a physician, dispensed by a pharmacist, and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. According to a 2013 Monitoring the Future study, prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs, after marijuana.

NSDUH data tracks prescription drug misuse or abuse among youth:

  • In 2014, the rate of past year nonmedical pain reliever use among youth aged 12 to 17 was 6.2%. For young adults ages 18 to 25, the rate was 11.8%.
  • In 2014, youths aged 12 to 17, or young adults aged 18 to 25, were more likely to misuse prescription drugs in the past year than adults aged 26 or older.
  • The percentage of current misusers of prescription drugs significantly increased for those aged 12-17 from 2.2% in 2013 to 2.6% in 2014.
  • On an average day during the past year, an average of 5,784 adolescents used prescription pain relievers non-medically for the first time.

2013 SAMHSA study shows that emergency department visits for drug misuse or abuse by youth aged 12 to 17 on a typical day include:

  • 74 for prescription or non-prescription pain relievers
  • 32 for antidepressants or antipsychotics
  • 31 for benzodiazepines
  • 26 for narcotic pain relievers
  • 11 for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications

More Facts & Statistics

Drug misuse among adults

In England and Wales 2013-14:

  • Around 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 (8.8 per cent) had taken an illicit drug in the last year. However, this proportion more than doubled when looking at the age subgroup of 16 to 24-year-olds (18.9 per cent). These figures are an increase from 2012-13 when 8.1 per cent of 16 to 59-year-olds and 16.2 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds had taken an illicit drug in the last year. However, both figures are lower than they were in 1996.

Drug misuse among children (11 – 15 years)

In England 2013:

  • 16 per cent of pupils had ever taken drugs, 11 per cent had taken them in the last year and 6 per cent had taken them in the last month. This is similar to the levels of drug use recorded in 2011 and 2012. Although between 2003 and 2011 drug use amongst 11 to 15 year olds declined.

Health outcomes

In England 2013-14:

  • There were 7,104 admissions1to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a drug-related mental health and behavioural disorder. This is an 8.5 per cent (555) increase from 2012-13 when there were 6,549 such admissions. Overall, between 2003-04 and 2013-14 admissions have decreased by 11 per cent (765) from 7,869 to 7,104.
  • There were 13,917 admissions1with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. Overall there has been a 76.7 per cent (6,041) increase since 2003/04 when there were 7,876 such admissions.
  • There were 1,957 deaths related to misuse of illicit drugs in 2013, an increase of 321 from 2012 when there were 1,636 such deaths. This is contrary to the downward trend since 2008 when deaths peaked at 2,004

Examples of People who have Abused Drugs

“My goal in life wasn’t living…it was getting high.”John’s Story – DrugFreeWorld.org



“It started with the weed, then the pills (Ecstasy) and acid, making cocktails of all sorts of drugs.”Ben’s Story – DrugFreeWorld.org



“I needed drugs just to get by.”Deon’s Story – easyread.drugabuse.gov

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 How Can it be Treated?

The AOC can help you if you have or are abusing drugs. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.


 If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:


We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;


Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • in schools
  • in mental health
  • in general health and social care settings
  • in prisons
  • in hospices
  • in the voluntary sector
  • in private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are trained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)


We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances. 

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them. 

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

Top Health Tips

Overcoming an addiction is not easy in the slightest so here are our helpful tips to help beat the addiction.

  1. Talk to someone – Don’t keep things bottled up, if you think or know you have a problem, firstly talk to someone you trust & they will offer help guidance.
  2. Avoid Peer-Pressure – Try and avoid those who take drugs or even deal them, they will try to influence you into taking more & this will only prolong your problems.
  3. Find a Hobby – Find a hobby you can enjoy to take your mind off drugs and at the same time make you healthier.
  4. Get Educated – Find out what the drugs are doing to your body, find out the facts from the fiction.
  5. Take Responsibility It is your life, your health and your safety. Make a change to better yourself, make your family and friends proud.
  6. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the sexual abuse you may be experiencing/experienced. Call or email us: 01384 211 168 / support@theaoc.org.uk