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Substance Use

Although the most commonly used substance among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) is alcohol, it is important to understand the impact of other illicit substances on this population. These illicit substances include, but are not limited to, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, and opioids. While individuals with ID/DD use illicit substances at lower rates than individuals without these diagnoses, they are at greater risk of substance abuse. Abuse of these substances may amplify already-present difficulties in functioning and are associated with increased risk of psychological, behavioral, social, and physical problems in individuals with disabilities. This entry reviews theories of substance abuse, risk factors of abuse, the impact of substance use, treatment concerns, and future directions for individuals with ID/DD.

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