Drug and Alcohol Abuse Affect Us ALL

“Drug use is on the rise in this country and 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to the entire population of Texas.”

~Dr. Kima Joy Taylor, director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 24 MILLION US residents have used an illegal drug within the last month. That works out to nearly 10% of the entire population. What’s worse, this means that illicit drug use in America has increased by over 8% within the last decade.

The rates of alcohol use and abuse are even higher. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that roughly 87% of US adults reported having drank alcohol at some point – 56% within the past month.

RIGHT NOW in America, 16 million adults and nearly 700,000 adolescents have a diagnosable Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

The Horrific Cost of Substance Abuse in America

The financial and human costs of addiction are tragic as they are staggering:

  • Addiction costs American society $484 BILLION annually.
  • This is more money every year than cancer and diabetes combined.
  • Every year in America:
    • 440,000 people due to diseases related/linked to tobacco use.
    • 85,000 people die due to alcohol.
    • 20,000 people die due to illegal drug use.
    • 20,000 people die due to the abuse of prescription medications.
  • Drug overdoses kill 120 Americans die every single day.
  • Overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in this country – more than gun homicides, suicides, or even traffic accidents.

 EVERYBODY Knows SOMEBODY Who Is Struggling with Alcohol or Drugs

10% of the US population may seem like a high number, but let’s put that number into an even greater perspective:

A survey published in the New York Times estimates that the typical American knows around 600 people. That means that the average American knows at least 60 people who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

Think about that for a moment.

YOU are American – does it surprise you to learn that you may personally be acquainted with 60 alcoholics and/ or drug addicts?

That same survey says that most Americans know 10 to 25 people well enough to trust them. That means that among your family and close friends – people you know and trust and loveyou probably know two or three people who are struggling with substance abuse today.

That is the entire point – substance abuse can happen to anyone. The alcoholic or drug addict in your life may be your spouse or partner, your child, your sibling, or even your parent. They can be your best friend, your coworker, or someone you see at church every week.

The person who needs help can even be YOU.

What Do I Do If Someone I Know Needs Help for a Drug or Alcohol Problem?

Substance abuse takes many forms – alcoholism, illicit drug addiction, or the abuse of prescription medications – and it is a disease that most people cannot deal with on their own. They need the help of experienced licensed addiction specialists, mental health professionals, and medical personnel, all working together to address the host of issues that accompany substance abuse.

Time is always of the essence, because addiction is a progressive disease that always gets worse without timely intervention and proper care. Since 1978, Chapman House has been providing the most comprehensive addiction recovery services in Orange County. If you or someone you care about needs help, contact us today to restore sobriety and sanity to your life.

by Albert Fontenot