Drug Abuse Among Veterans
Mental illness and substance abuse is relatively common among military veterans.
- 7% of veterans struggle with illegal drug use compared to 5.3% of the general population in the US over age 18.
- 80% struggle with alcohol abuse, and 7% have an issue with both alcohol and illegal drugs.
- 7% of the veteran population has a serious mental illness compared to 14.4% of adults over 18.
- 505,000 veterans misuse prescription pain relievers compared to 59,000 who used heroin.
- 10% of veterans between the ages of 18-25 misuse prescription pain relievers compared to 5.5% of the general population in the US in the same age group.
Heroin Addiction Statistics In The Uk
- Between 2010 and 2015, the death rates for heroin doubled in England, Wales and Scotland. On average in 2016, every five hours, someone died after using heroin.
- However, figures from the same year suggest that the heroin addiction situation in the UK may be improving. The number of 18 to 24-year-olds in England entering treatment for addiction to heroin fell 79% in 10 years. This has been attributed to the stigma surrounding the drug and changing tastes in intoxication.
What Comes First: Substance Abuse Or The Mental Health Problem
Substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are closely linked, although one doesnt necessarily directly cause the other. Abusing substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine can cause prolonged psychotic reactions, while alcohol can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse. Also:
Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems. People often abuse alcohol or drugs to ease the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental disorder, to cope with difficult emotions, or to temporarily change their mood. Unfortunately, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol causes side effects and in the long run often worsens the symptoms they initially helped to relieve.
Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the underlying risk for mental disorders. Since mental health problems are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other factors, its difficult to say if abusing substances ever directly causes them. However, if you are at risk for a mental health issue, abusing alcohol or drugs may push you over the edge. For example, there is some evidence that those who abuse opioid painkillers are at greater risk for depression and heavy cannabis use has been linked to an increased risk for schizophrenia.
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Addiction Impacts By Age
Use of Illicit Drugs in Grades 8, 10, and 12
Over 1/3 of 8th 10th and 12th graders have used illicit drugs at some stage of their life.
Percentage of High School Students Using Cocaine by Gender, Ethnicity, and Sexual Identity
LGBTQIA high school students use cocaine at twice the rate that heterosexual students do based on this data.
As Per Data From 2017 51 Million People Aged 18 To 25 Suffered From A Substance Use Disorder
That means that one in seven people, or 14.8% of this age group, suffered from a substance use disorder. Drug statistics also show that approximately 10% of all young adults, or 3.4 million, suffered from an alcohol use disorder. Around 2.5 million, or 7.3% of all young adults, suffered from an illicit drug use disorder. Unfortunately, heroin use has also increased in the last 20 years in this age group.
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Familial Relationships And Addiction
There are countless effects of drug addiction on the family. Strained relationships, financial difficulties, and increased risk of abuse are only the start. Since each family has a different dynamic, not all families feel the same effects to the same extent. Regardless, its impossible to deny that addiction affects the entire family.
Addiction strains relationships, no matter which person in the family has the problem. It doesnt matter if its a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. Every family member struggles alongside the addict to an extent. Living with someone in active addiction is a daily challenge for each person in the home.
Family members also respond in different ways. Some step back from the family unit to avoid engaging with the addict. They dont want to involve themselves in the chaos that comes with addiction. Some take on the opposite role and try to influence or control the addict into stopping or getting help. Others ride the middle line and try their best to blend in.
Addiction Statistics: How Big Of A Problem Is It
Research of any type is expensive and requires funding. The largest supporter of addiction research is the United States government. In 1970, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism was established. Then in 1974, the National Institute on Drug Abuse began. In 1992, the US government created the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration . SAMHSA’s primary function is to compile the results of technically complicated, scientific research about addiction and mental health. Then they transform these research results into useful, practical information to guide clinicians and the public. SAMHSA also draws on the work of the National Institute of Mental Health to accomplish that goal.
The National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health was founded in 1972 by NIDA. NIDA conducted surveys periodically at first. Then in 1991, it became an annual event. It remains the largest survey on this subject. The 2010 survey was composed of approximately 67,500 individuals age 12 or older. These results are available here:
If you are not fond of numbers, we highlight the key points.
Illegal Drug Use Statistics in the United States
Data reported for 2010 :
Cigarette and Tobacco Statistics in the United States:
Data reported for 2010 :
Number of People Meeting Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Abuse or Dependence1:
Data reported for 2010 :
Number of People Needing Substance Abuse Treatment2:
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Addiction
Addiction is a serious disease. If you or someone you care about has a problem with addiction, talk to your provider right away. Treatments and support groups can help.
A note from Cleveland Clinic If you or someone you know is living with addiction, you may feel overwhelmed and out of control. But there is hope. Addictions are treatable. Through hard work and commitment, millions of people have overcome substance use disorders to live happy, healthy lives. Talk to your provider about a treatment plan that works for you. Dont get discouraged if you have setbacks along the way. It is possible to overcome this, and you are not alone.
Effects Of Drug Addiction On The Brain
All drugsnicotine, cocaine, marijuana and othersaffect the brains reward circuit, which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs target this system, which causes large amounts of dopaminea brain chemical that helps regulate emotions and feelings of pleasureto flood the brain. This flood of dopamine is what causes a high. Its one of the main causes of drug addiction.
Although initial drug use may be voluntary, drugs can alter brain chemistry. This can actually change how the brain performs and interfere with a persons ability to make choices. It can lead to intense cravings and compulsive drug use. Over time, this behavior can turn into a substance dependency or drug and alcohol addiction.
Alcohol can have short- and long-term effects on the brain and disrupts the brains communication pathways. These can influence mood, behavior and other cognitive function.
Brain damage may also occur through alcohol-induced nutrition deficiencies, alcohol-induced seizures and liver disease. In pregnant women, alcohol exposure can impact the brains of unborn babies, resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
It is reported that alcohol-induced brain problems can often be corrected with proper treatment. Abstinence from alcohol for months or years can help partially repair thinking abilities, like memory skills.
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% Of People Who Have Abused Heroin Started By Abusing Prescription Opioids
Stats on heroin addiction rate report that 4%6% of people who suffer from prescription drug use disorder switch to heroin. However, heroin is usually the first opioid people use. To add, it enters the brain quickly and binds to opioid receptors, especially the ones located in areas that control heart rate, sleeping, and breathing, as well as the feelings of pain and pleasure.
Amphetamine And Methamphetamine Addiction Statistics In The Uk
A 2014 study found that around 25,000 people abused methamphetamine in the UK. The study also showed that methamphetamine accounted for only 0.3% of all referrals to national drug services. In the year under review, 240 people were recorded as having asked for help with methamphetamine in the whole of England, compared to nearly 8,000 people asking for help with cocaine related problems.
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What Is Substance Use And Addiction
Many people use substances such as drugs or alcohol to relax, have fun, experiment, or cope with stressors, however, for some people the use of substances or engaging in certain behaviours can become problematic and may lead to dependence.
Addiction is a complex process where problematic patterns of substance use or behaviours can interfere with a persons life. Addiction can be broadly defined as a condition that leads to a compulsive engagement with a stimuli, despite negative consequences.i This can lead to physical and/or psychological dependence. Addictions can be either substance related or process-related, also known as behavioural addictions .ii Both can disrupt an individuals ability to maintain a healthy life, but there are numerous support and treatment options available.
A simple way of understanding and describing addiction is to use the 4Cs approach:
- Loss of control of amount or frequency of use
- Compulsion to use
- Continued substance use despite consequencesiii
How common is substance use and addiction?
Substance use is quite common on an international scale and statistics vary depending on the substance being consumed. It is estimated that nearly 5% of the worlds population have used an illicit substance, 240 million people around the world use alcohol problematically, and approximately 15 million people use injection drugs.iv
Statistics On Marijuana Addiction And Abuse
is a psychoactive drug which comes from a THC-bearing plant. It is becoming increasingly legal throughout the US, both for medicine and for recreation, but its still not completely safe because it may be addictive and cause health problems.
- About 30-40 million Americans smoke Marijuana every year.
- About 43% of American adults admit to trying Marijuana.
- About 30% of people who regularly use Marijuana have a Marijuana use disorder.
- The average batch of Marijuana in 1990 contained less than 4% THC, but that percentage has since risen to over 12%.
- Roughly 10% of all Marijuana users will become addicted to the drug.
- Around 17% of all who start using the drug as minors become addicted.
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What Is Substance Abuse
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse or alcohol abuse, refers to a chronic pattern of frequent or excessive substance use in a way that is harmful to health and well-being.
Examples of this include:
- taking drugs for reasons other than prescribed
- taking higher doses than prescribed
- taking drugs in ways other than prescribed
Deaths From Substance Use
Substance use is indirectly and directly responsible for 11.8 million deaths each year
How many people die from substance use each year?To answer this, we need to define two aspects: what substances i.e. drugs do we include in this definition and what do we mean by a death caused by substance use does this include only direct deaths or also the increased risk of premature death from moderate, long-term drug use?
The Global Burden of Disease study identifies and provides estimates for substance use deaths through both pathways. The first is a direct death from a substance use disorder. A substance use disorder is characterized by meeting the criteria for drug dependence as defined by the World Health Organizations International Classification of Diseases .4 Alcohol dependence or illicit drug dependence are included in substance use disorders deaths from these disorders can be considered drug overdoses, with the terms being used interchangeably in the study literature.5
In the visualization we summarize the results of the Global Burden of Disease study on the number of deaths attributed to substance use: this is differentiated between indirect deaths as a risk factor from smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use and direct deaths from substance use disorders of alcohol and illicit drugs .
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Addiction Impacts By Ethnicity
Heroin Overdose Death Rates by Ethnicity
White, Native, and Black communities represent disproportionately high rates of heroin overdose death rates.
Prescription Opioid Overdose Death Rates by Ethnicity
White communities and Native communities represent a disproportionately high rate of prescription opioid overdose deaths.
Percentage of US Hispanic Population Using Illicit Drugs
Latinos are more likely to use marijuana than any other illicit drugs
Percentage of US African American Population Using Illicit Drugs
African Americans are more likely to use marijuana than any other illicit drugs.
How Does Substance Abuse Affect Mental Health
Alcohol is the most widely used social drug in Australia. It increases the risk of depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses in some people. Likewise, people with mental health issues are more likely to abuse alcohol than others. Alcohol can make medicine like antidepressants less effective. In the short term, alcohol is a major cause of violence and suicidal behaviour.
Having a mental illness can make someone more likely to abuse drugs to lessen their symptoms and make them feel better in the short term. In other people, drug problems may trigger the first symptoms of mental illness. People with a mental illness experience drug problems at a far higher rate than the general community.
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Where To Get Help
- If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may have a problem with their substance use, see your doctor. You could also try healthdirect’s Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
- 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous 1300 222 222 and Narcotics Anonymous 1300 652 820 are available in many locations throughout Australian cities and regional areas. They provide a support group for people who have recovered from addiction and can support and mentor others with alcohol or addiction problems.
- Specialised information for young people is available at ReachOut.com and headspace. Free online counselling programs for people who are concerned about their drug or alcohol use are available at Counselling Online and the Australian Centre for Addiction Research.
- If you or someone you know is having a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Statistics By Geographical Location
According to Vladimir Poznyak, a researcher for the WHO who focuses on gaming disorder, geographical location has little to no impact on an individuals likelihood of getting addicted to gaming.
Still, the numbers of gaming addicts will vary by country. In less developed countries of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America, the number of gaming addicts may be lower than in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia such as Japan, China, and South Korea due to greater access to technology.
However, less developed countries are quickly catching up with global smartphone penetration estimated to be 78% or higher. With technology continuing to accelerate globally, we may see a boom of gaming addicts in the coming years and decades.
There arent many statistics that tell us more about gaming disorder and its correlation to location, but these are some of the more interesting ones that are available:
The bottom line is that gaming addiction is present worldwide. In developing countries, mobile gaming addiction is likely to be higher than computer or console game addiction, and the number of gaming addicts in developing countries is anticipated to grow in the years to come.
Video Game Addiction Statistics: United States
Video Game Addiction Statistics: Canada
Video Game Addiction Statistics: United Kingdom
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Tip : Connect With Others
Make face-to-face connection with friends and family a priority. Positive emotional connection to those around you is the quickest way to calm your nervous system. Try to meet up regularly with people who care about you. If you dont have anyone you feel close to, its never too late to meet new people and develop meaningful friendships.
Follow doctors orders. Once you are sober and you feel better, you might think you no longer need medication or treatment. But arbitrarily stopping medication or treatment is a common reason for relapse in people with co-occurring disorders. Always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your medication or treatment routine.
Get therapy or stay involved in a support group. Your chances of staying sober improve if you are participating in a social support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or if you are getting therapy.
Statistics On Addiction In Canada
The majority of people who use substances such as drugs or alcohol do so to relax or have fun. Unfortunately, for some people, using substances or engaging in certain behaviours can become problematic and may lead to abuse or addiction.
In Canada, approximately 21% of the population will experience a substance use disorder or addiction at some point in their lifetime.
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the top addictions in Canada are:
- Opioids & prescription drugs
Keep reading to learn more about the trends of each of the above addictions in Canada.
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