Substance Use

Substance use is the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including illicit drugs, and misused prescription drugs. It also includes the use of substances like alcohol, tobacco products and marijuana. 

Repeated substance use can lead to dependence, which typically includes a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling use, persisting in use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state. 

Substance Use Disorders


Drug use and substance use disorders (SUDs) affect millions of Americans. In 2014, nearly 27 million people in the United States were current users of illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs, and almost 67 million people smoked or used other harmful tobacco products. 

People with addiction should not be blamed for suffering from the disease. All people make choices about whether to use substances. However, people do not choose how their brain and body respond to drugs and alcohol. Treatment and recovery is possible, and millions of people seek treatment and live healthy, positive lives in recovery.

Substance Use Policies and Public Health


Policies which influence the levels and patterns of substance use and related harm can significantly reduce related public health problems. Interventions at the health care system level can also work towards the restoration of health in affected individuals.

Tri-County Health Department works at the local level to address substance use among adults and youth. 
 Learn more about: