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Drug Addiction in the U.S.
Drug addiction affects individuals of all ages, races, backgrounds and ethnicities in the United States. The problem of drug addiction is one that not only affects the addict themselves, but everyone around them and society at large. Drug addiction is an epidemic which has the potential to destroy so many lives, lives which could be better put to use without drugs. It is a fact that the majority of adult Americans have tried some type of drug at least once in their lifetime, and over 22 million have done so in the past year. If left untreated, the problem of drug addiction in the U.S. can have devastating consequences for future generations.
Alcohol is the most consumed drug out of any of the common drugs of abuse in the United States. Although use of alcohol is legal and widely accepted, with over half of the individuals in the nation who are 12 and older having consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Millions of individuals in the nation abuse this powerful drug and struggle with alcohol addiction. This affects individuals of all ages, and results in disastrous consequences in society at large. For example, drinking and driving occurs more often than one would think, with over 30 million individuals reporting doing so within the past year. As a result, there are an estimated 17,000 deaths each year in the nation as a result of drunk driving. In terms of productivity lost, alcoholism causes 500 million lost workdays per year. In terms of health consequences, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 20 to 30% of esophagus cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and epilepsy.
Despite the popular misconception that it is not, marijuana is a gateway drug. Studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely than non users to continue on using more hardcore drugs. This is a concern for future generations, when one considers that this is the drug of choice among American youth. As of 2009, over 3 million 12 to 17 year-olds had used the drug in the past year, and daily marijuana among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is currently at its highest point since the early 1980s. The average potency of the drug has more than doubled since in the past 20 years as well, which adds further risks associated with adverse side effects which responsible for an estimated hundreds of thousands of people entering emergency rooms each year.
Recent drug trends show a troubling rise in the rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs among Americans. American are using opioid narcotics, stimulants, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, much like they use illicit recreational drugs to get high. An estimated 5 million Americans are in fact doing so, meaning they are using these drugs at much greater frequency and dosage than is prescribed or have absolutely no prescription at all. Abuse of prescription pain relievers is the biggest problem, followed by tranquilizers and stimulants. Because individuals who use these powerful prescription drugs to get high and not as prescribed, and often in conjunction with alcohol which is not recommended, this type of drug abuse and addiction is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States. This too is a problem which crosses all ages and backgrounds, with an estimated 670,000 youths, 1.5 million young adults, and 3.0 million adults aged 26 or older abusing prescription drugs non-medically each year.
Hardcore illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are also very imminent threats in society today in all age groups and are responsible for many ruined lives and many lives lost. There are an estimated 2.0 million current cocaine users, 750,000 to 1 million current hardcore heroin addicts and an estimated 1 million current methamphetamine users in the nation. "Club drugs" such as Ecstasy are also extremely common drugs of abuse, with nearly 14 million Americans reporting having used the drug at least once in their lifetime.
This information will hopefully shed light on how broad the problem of drug addiction in the U.S. is, but also bring attention to the need to get individuals who need help into treatment so they can overcome addiction. Individuals who are addicted to drugs are psychologically and physically dependent to their substance of choice, so there is very little chance that they will be able to overcome addiction on their own. This is where a drug rehab program comes in, and where professional drug treatment counselors can be put to use effectively in society today.
There are a myriad of these types of programs available, however not all are effective or offer an adequate amount of treatment to resolve addiction issues. Most short-term programs for example are only going to allow for enough time for the individual to overcome physical symptoms, and not nearly enough time to really address any underlying psychological and emotional issues through counseling and other forms of therapy. Do the research, and determine which program will help resolve issues so that the individual can have a better shot at long-term sobriety, not necessarily the program which is going to send them home fastest.
With millions of individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol, there is no better time than now to take action and get those who need help in treatment. Anyone struggling with drug addiction must take the opportunity to receive this help by contacting a professional drug treatment counselor to get their life going in the right direction today and become fully rehabilitated.