Understanding Drug Addiction in the United States

Understanding Drug Addiction in the United States

If your child or loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s likely that you may feel shocked and confused because of their behavior. You may feel embarrassed and wish the problem would go away, and you wonder how it could’ve happened to your family. The reality of the presence of drug and alcohol abuse belies the belief that it is uncommon and doesn’t happen to “normal” families.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse: A Real Problem

In 2009, it’s estimated that 9.3 percent of persons who are 12 years of age or older needed treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. That is 23.5 million people in the United States alone, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA. However, only 2.6 million people actually received treatment.

According to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), facilities that reported to the state in 2008 showed 1.8 million admissions. Of those, 41.4 percent dealt with alcohol abuse, 17 percent dealt with marijuana abuse, 14.1 percent dealt with heroin abuse, and 8.1 percent had a crack cocaine addiction. Many people (18.3 percent) often had multiple addictions with alcohol and another drug.

Trends in Drug Abuse

trends in drug abuseDrug and alcohol use is a real problem in the United States. By the time a child becomes a senior in high school, he or she has a 66 percent chance of having used alcohol in his or her lifetime. Nearly half of all children (49.1 percent) by the time they reach the 12th grade have used illegal drugs.These illegal drugs include marijuana (44.4 percent), prescription drug abuse (19.9 percent), amphetamines (12.1 percent), narcotics other than heroine (9.5 percent) and Adderall (6.8 percent).

A Deadly Addiction

Drug abuse isn’t just a nuisance when it comes to a family member. In fact, statistics prove that deaths due to drugs and overdoses are on the increase. Since 2001, the number of deaths due to overdose of prescription drugs is 2.5 times greater in 2013. Four times more people have died due to overdoses benzodiazepines between 2001 and 2013. Cocaine deaths increased 29 percent since 2001 and heroin deaths have shot up five times the number of deaths in 2001.The reality is drug abuse is dangerous to your family, and if your family member is addicted, he or she needs your help to end the cycle of addiction.

Drug Abuse and Mental Health

drug abuse and mental healthYou may be surprised to learn that drug abuse and mental disorders can occur at the same time. But drug addiction is a mental illness because the addiction actually changes the way the brain works. People who suffer from mental illnesses are more likely to become addicted to drugs; people are addicted to drugs are also likely to have a mental illness.

In fact, it’s twice as likely, regardless of whether the drug addiction or the mental illness came first.It has been suspected that drug abuse can bring about psychological problems. With marijuana, for example, susceptible users can suffer psychosis. At the same time, those with a mental illness may try to “self-medicate” to help with their symptoms.


References:
  1. Drug Facts: Treatment Statistics, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3/2011, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-statistics
  2. Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015, http://www.drugabuse.gov/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/monitoring-future-study-trends-in-prevalence-various-drugs
  3. Overdose Death Rates, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2/2015, http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  4. DrugFacts: Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3/2011, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/comorbidity-addiction-other-mental-disorders


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