What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a treatable mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to their inability to control their use of legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. Symptoms can be moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUD. (Source: NIH, 7/27/23)

For more information visit: What is SUD Treatment & Recovery?

Substance Types

Fentanyl (Illegally made)

  • Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths. Even in small doses, fentanyl can be deadly. Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to fentanyl. Drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you wouldn’t be able to see it, taste it, or smell it. It is nearly impossible to tell if drugs have been laced with fentanyl unless you test your drugs with fentanyl test strips, click here to Obtain Fentanyl Test Strips

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  •  Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer, also called “tranq” or “tranq dope” and is a non-opioid sedative not approved for use in people. When used in people, xylazine can cause sedation, difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, wounds that can become infected, severe withdrawal symptoms and death. Click Here to Obtain Xylazine Test Strips

For more information on Xylazine, click here.


  • Cocaine- A powerful addictive stimulant that looks like a fine, white, crystal powder and is often snorted. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. Click Here to Obtain Test Strips
  • Crack – Highly addictive and looks like, white or off-white chunks or rocks and is typically smoked. Signs of abuse include nervous behavior, restlessness, bloody noses, and erratic, high energy.
  • Methamphetamine – A powerful stimulant that is found in the form of white or slightly yellow crystal-like powder, or large rock-like chunks. It can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed to experience its effects. Signs of abuse include nervous physical activity, scabs and open sores, decreased appetite, and insomnia.


  • Nicotine – A highly addictive substance found in all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and vapes. When used during adolescence, nicotine can change the way the brain develops. This may affect learning, attention, and susceptibility to other addictions.
  • Vapes and E-Cigarettes – Often have extremely high concentrations of nicotine. This makes users particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted very quickly. Many people do not realize the product they are using has nicotine in it, or they are unaware of the amount of nicotine the product contains.
  • E-Liquids – The liquids intended for vapes or e-cigarettes. These come in a variety of sweet and fruity flavors, which are especially appealing to kids. The flavors may give the impression the products are harmless. Some brands even advertise themselves as being “safer” or “healthy”; all claims that are totally unsubstantiated.


  • Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol or continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.

Cannabis/ Marijuana

  • Marijuana is typically smoked, vaped or eaten in edible form. Signs of abuse commonly include slowed thinking, delayed reaction time, impaired coordination, and paranoia. According to the CDC, Cannabis-involved emergency department (ED) visits increased for youths aged 0–14 years before 2019, as cannabis legalization expanded across the United States. Make sure to safely store marijuana, especially edibles such as gummies or candy.


  • Heroin- Has become increasingly scarce and is most often mixed with fentanyl. Heroin is often injected, but can also be smoked, free based, or snorted in order to experience its effects. Signs of abuse include track marks on the arms or legs, slowed and slurred speech, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy. Click Here to Obtain Test Strips
  • Opiates/ Prescription Pain Medications/ Fentanyl – These opioids have the appearance of pills, tablets, transdermal patches, and table salt. They are typically crushed up and snorted or injected, swallowed, or licked off the patch to experience their effects. Signs of abuse include missing medicine bottles, missing medication, disrupted eating habits, dark circles under the eyes, and nodding off.


  • Paint thinners, glues, nail polish remover, whipped cream aerosol, air conditioner fluid, and many other substances. As the name suggests, they are inhaled in order to experience their effects. Signs of abuse include missing household cleaning products, and a drunk, dazed, or dizzy appearance.


  • Benzodiazepines are depressants that slow down the central nervous system and produce sedation and hypnosis, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and reduce seizures. Benzodiazepines are associated with amnesia, hostility, irritability, and vivid or disturbing dreams. Abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine users as well as among adolescents and young adults.