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NIDA Home > Drug Abuse and Addiction: One of America's Most Challenging Public Health Problems

Faces of Addiction

Drug Abuse is an Equal Opportunity Destroyer
Photo of various magazine covers

The effects of addiction reach across the lifespan, across cultures, and across genders.

No population group is immune to substance abuse and its damage.

Drug abuse affects those at all levels of society, including people we may admire.


Addiction Targets Teens

Photos of various teens

Anabolic Steroids: Craig took steroids because he wanted to look like an action figure. Craig did get bigger, but so did his

Ecstasy: Daniel used and sold X at raves to feel popular -- but he wound up completely alone.

Marijuana: Alby smoked pot to get away from his problems and fit in but soon discovered there's a high price to pay.

Nicotine: Kevin, a top high school athlete, used to smoke two packs a day. Now he can't run without wheezing.

Go to for more information.


Past Month Illicit Drug Use by Age: 2003
Past Month Illicit Drug Use by Age: 2003 graph
Source: SAMHSA, 20041

Illicit drug use peaks during late adolescence and young adulthood.

Past Month Cigarette Use by Age: 2003
Past Month Cigarette Use by Age: 2003 - Bar graph
Source: SAMHSA, 20041

Cigarette use peaks during young adulthood and remains high throughout the lifespan.

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