Emerging Drugs of Misuse and their Public Health Implications

This activity covers some emerging drugs of misuse and their public health implications. Substance use, misuse, and abuse has become a leading public health topic in the U.S. The American Public Health Association estimates that 15,000 Americans died from prescription drug overdose alone in 2015. Substance misuse also harms our economy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that substance misuse and abuse costs the U.S. $232 billion in healthcare and $740 billion overall expenditures to the economy. One goal of the Healthy People 2020 is to 'Reduce substance abuse to protect the health, safety and quality of life for all, especially children.'

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:  

  • Discuss the public health implications of emerging drugs of misuse including overdose and economical burden
  • Outline physiologic effects of opiates with regard to addiction
  • Outline physiologic effects of synthetic cathinones and their emergence as common drugs of abuse