Substance Abuse: America’s Problem
Substance abuse overdose is epidemic in our society. Statistics show that in 2019 over 7 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 reported that they drank more than a sip of alcohol in the previous month. 20% of seniors in high school report they have taken prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them. And the overall overdose rate in Americans rose by 4% from 2018 to 2019.
Not only do Americans begin to abuse drugs and alcohol an earlier age, but the abuse is following many in our society through the remainder of their adult lives. For example, substance abuse has reached outrageously high levels in the senior citizen community. Studies indicate that 33% of alcoholics developed their problem in their later years of life.
Substance Abuse and its Economic Impact
Many people in the US think that substance abuse doesn’t impact their everyday lives as long as they themselves abstain. They could not be more wrong. For starters, substance abuse costs the American economy $1.45 trillion in economic loss and societal damage each year. Of this sum, $578 billion consists of economic loss and $874 billion is societal harm.
The CDC reports that between 2005 and 2014 the emergency room visits due to opioid use almost doubled. In addition, healthcare costs for people addicted to drugs and alcohol are almost twice as high as for those that abstain.
Another place the economic impact of substance abuse can be felt is in our nation’s jails and prisons. The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world with 698 people per 100,00 citizens incarcerated. Drug offenders count for over half of the prison population in this country. American taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to keep non-violent drug offenders in jails.
Substance Abuse Doesn’t Only Hurt the Abuser
The effects of substance abuse can be seen long before an individual even tries drugs or alcohol for the first time. Children who grow up around substance abuse often pay the heaviest price, from the earliest age. For example, a child with parents that abuse drugs and alcohol will have an alarmingly higher rate of emotional difficulties, troubles in school and problems with delinquency than his/her classmate that comes from a home without substance abuse. They also have a significantly increased risk of abusing substances themselves later in life.
Domestic violence is another blight on our society that often goes hand in hand with substance abuse. Over 66 percent of the victims of domestic violence in this country report that their attacker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the assault.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse in the United States quite literally affects every single one of us. There are quality treatment programs for substance abuse and alcoholism that can help you or your loved ones recover from addiction and enjoy a happier and healthier life.
Regardless of your individual circumstances, there is a program for everyone that needs help.
If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of drug or alcohol abuse, Destination Hope wants to help. We urge you to give us a call any time so we can confidentially discuss treatment options and breaking the toxic cycle of substance abuse.
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