According to the NIDA, substance addiction is “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.”
So, why do people start using drugs in Santa Cruz or elsewhere? The reasons are vast, but many include the feeling or because of the need to focus more at work or school or perform better in sports. One might need to relax or calm anxiety – or it might be curiosity or social pressure.
The initial high – the pleasure and euphoria followed by more self-confidence or relaxation (depending on the substance) – might feel optimistic. Still, it can quickly dissipate and lead the user to need more drugs to feel the same or even feel normal.
Substance use disorder isn’t sustainable – accidental overdose is a leading cause of death for people under 45 years of age.