The United States only accounts for four percent of the world’s population, yet it consumes more illicit substances than any other country. Nearly two thirds of all illegal drug purchases are made by Americans. This doesn’t just affect the consumers’ lives. In fact, the entire American healthcare and law enforcement systems feel the impact of drug addiction.
The Real Cost of Drug Addiction
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that $700 billion is spent annually on healthcare treatments, corporate productivity losses and crime prevention.
- A 2012 study showed that 23.9 million Americans have used drugs in the last month.
- Hospitals have seen a 98.4 percent increase in drug-related emergencies since 2004.
- According to a 2010 study, nearly 5,500 people abuse prescription drugs for the first time each day.
- The most recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that illicit drug use has increased by 8.3 percent.
- Individuals under the age of 18 account for 7,800 new drug users every day.
In the face of all these facts, it can be easy to blame the uneducated or unemployed when in fact three fourths of all drug addicts are gainfully employed adults. Every state, region, majority, minority and background is affected. Socially, many drugs are more accepted than ever. Daily and financial stresses can take their toll, leading many to find solace through drug addiction.
The Rising Rate of Drug Abuse
- Since its height in 1985, cocaine use has decreased nearly 74 percent. Even so, chronic users still make up two thirds of the United States’ demand for the drug.
- Illegal marijuana use has increased by 5.8 percent since 2007.
- An estimated 600,000 individuals are addicted to heroin and account for nearly 215,000 hospital visits each year.
- Prescription drug abuse continues to climb each year with 27 percent of all emergency room cases coming from the abuse of painkillers, OxyContin and antidepressants.
- Methamphetamine use continues to rise with an estimated 85,000 new users each year.
- While often neglected in drug addiction studies, Nicotine accounts for an estimated 150,000 cancer deaths each year.
- 17 million Americans suffer from disorders stemming from alcohol abuse.
While many drug addictions seem to be on the decline, emergency room visits and overdose cases have continued to rise since the early 2000s, increasing by nearly 25 percent.
With so many Americans affected every day, it can be difficult for those looking for help to find the support they need in their community. Such large percentages mean even though someone wants to change their life, they can still readily access some form of substance.
Inpatient Drug Treatment
Inpatient treatment continues to be the most effective form of drug rehabilitation. By removing the individuals from the communities that enable them, treatment can truly take hold. Patients are removed from their poor environments, given structure to their lives and have access to around the clock support. Most importantly, they can focus on themselves, foster new friendships and undergo a multitude of drug addiction treatment options.