The most common drug users are drug “dabblers.”

That’s the gist of new research from the University of Alabama, which shows that about 1-in-11 North American adults use hard drugs occasionally – meaning anywhere from once a week to once a year. And most of these “dabblers” are not the strung-out users you see in rehab, or on TV reality shows. Instead, they’re people like Cindy, a 60 year-old woman we read about who has a good job and a nice home in Boston. She says she and her husband use cocaine every now and then because they like the high, and she says the reason she doesn’t use hard drugs more often is because she doesn’t want to get arrested, or become addicted.

So, why bother using drugs at all? Dr. David Sack is an addiction expert, and he says drug dabblers tend to be perfectly functional adults who convince themselves that they’re not doing any harm as long as they stay in control of their drug use. But the reality is that even if you just “dabble” in drugs, they’re still dangerous. In fact, research shows that only using hard drugs once increases your risk of stroke, seizure, and heart-attack.

Also, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, drug dabblers who continued to use hard drugs into their 50s are five times more likely to die an early death than those who didn’t.

Dr. Sack puts it this way, Quote: “There are people who can get drunk every weekend for 25 years and not become alcoholics, but it doesn’t mean the alcohol isn’t doing them harm.” The same goes for drug dabblers.