It is sad but true: There are an awful lot of substances in the world that are dangerous. 

Many of those substances are drugs. In fact, even drugs that are intended to be beneficial can, if misused, lead to the development of a substance use disorder. And if a person is already in recovery from a substance use disorder, extra caution is in order to ensure a drug—whether prescribed or illicit—doesn’t pose a threat to sobriety.

In previous blog entries, we have considered a wide range of substances that can be problematic. Here, we offer a roundup of some of those entries—focusing in this case on legal substances. Some of these you can buy at the grocery store or get at the local pub. Others require a prescription. But they are all perfectly legal. Their legality, however, does not mean that they are not potentially dangerous.

1. Smoking: Legal but Lousy for Your Lungs and Much More

In an entry titled “10 Reasons to Quit Smoking,” we offered, well, 10 reasons to quit smoking. The first reason—smoking kills—is pretty persuasive, but we made a broader case. We also argued that quitting is 100% worth it:

Honestly ask yourself: How do you feel? Have you already checked in the mirror for premature wrinkles and stained teeth? Have loved ones who are being affected by your secondhand smoke—or who will be affected by your early death—crossed your mind? Does your emotional response to this list feel stronger than your craving to light up?

Quitting brings relief, both physically and emotionally.

Related: Here are a couple of other entries related to smoking: A blog about marijuana and another about e-cigarettes

2. Alcohol: Prevalent but a Problem for Plenty of People

We had ten reasons for you to quit smoking, but we only needed four reasons to suggest that you stop drinking. Among our points in “Four Reasons to Give Up Alcohol and Turn Your Life Around” was one that applies broadly to all problematic drug use. Your habit is hard on your family:

When you develop a substance use disorder centered on alcohol, you are not the only person who suffers. Those closest to you, including your family and those friends who are akin to family, also experience negative impacts. The result can be broken relationships that can be extremely difficult to repair.

And if you have children, it is essential to remember that a proclivity to develop a substance use disorder can run in families. Modeling responsible behavior when it comes to alcohol—even if that means giving it up entirely—can be a powerful way to ensure your kids know and avoid the dangers related to alcohol.

3. Ambien: From Nighty-Night to Nightmare

Lots of folks have trouble sleeping, and Ambien can seem like a lifesaver. Unfortunately, as we wrote in “All About Ambien—Benefits and Risks Associated with Getting Some Sleep,” misuse can lead to a nightmare scenario:

[S]ome people find it difficult to stick to the dosing instructions or the limited time period of their prescriptions. Often, this is due to the hypnotic high they experience after taking Ambien—an experience that can be brought on by ingesting higher doses or taking it in combination with other drugs. It is a short step from there to the development of a substance use disorder centered on Ambien.

Related: Ambien is not the only legal and often beneficial pharmaceutical that can end up leading to problems. Here are considerations of two more such drugs: codeine and tramadol.

Next Time Out: Illegal Substances

In this entry, we have only looked at drugs that are legal for use (acknowledging that marijuana is not legal everywhere). In a future entry, we will offer a roundup of illicit drugs and the ways in which they can upend your life. 

No Matter the Substance at the Heart of the Disorder, We Can Help

All of us at The Aviary Recovery Center—located near St. Louis, Mo.—are committed to helping the individuals we serve get sober and stay sober. We provide medically supervised detoxification to get the drugs out of your system. We offer a robust rehabilitation program designed to give you strategies and resources for keeping the drugs out of your system. And we are dedicated to a continuum of care intended to support your hard-won sobriety in the early days of your recovery journey.

If you are struggling with drugs—whether legal or illegal—we are here to help you reclaim your life. When you are ready to get started, we are, too.