Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What Is The Number One Drug Addiction In America

What Can Be Done To Discourage Youth From Using Drugs And Alcohol

Annual drug overdose deaths hit record high of more than 100,000 in US

Everyone can help educate children and youth on the dangers of illegal drugs and alcohol. A 2012 study published by the Maine Rural Health Research Center suggested that, first and foremost, parental influence is a protective factor against alcohol use. There are programs to help schools, churches, organizations, and parents who want to work with youth to discourage them from using alcohol and other drugs.

Family-centered prevention programs work to improve the knowledge and skills of children and parents related to substance use, as well as the communication within the family. For instance, the Strong African American FamiliesTeen program, implemented in rural Georgia, was successful and cost effective in its mission to keep rural youth engaged in school and away from illicit substances.

Schools can play a part in discouraging youth from using drugs and alcohol. Schools provide a stable and supportive environment for students where they feel cared for by teachers and staff. Children who are successful in school are less likely to drink alcohol.

Rural church and faith-based organizations can also play an important role in promoting substance use prevention. According to the 2012 study listed above, rural adolescents are more inclined to participate in organized church-related events and could benefit from activities focused on substance use prevention.

Other organizations that provide substance use information and prevention program resources for youth include:

Drug Abuse Financial Costs

In 2020, the National Drug Control Budget requested $34.6 billion across five areas of drug control functions: operations, prevention, treatment, interdiction, and law enforcement).

  • $1.2 billion to Department of Defense for counterdrug operations at home and abroad.
  • $55.5 million to Department of Education for school climate transformation grants for school-based substance abuse prevention/technical assistance.
  • $1.5 billion to SAMSHA for State Opioid Response grants intended for tribes, states, and US territory.
  • $1.9 billion to SAMSHA for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant to fund evidence-based prevention activities for states, tribes and territories.
  • $620 million to HRSA community health centers.
  • Other recipients include the Departments of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, etc.

Drug Use By State: 2021s Problem Areas

Drug abuse has a long and storied history in the United States, and weve been at war with it since 1971 under the Nixon administration. Yet despite the countrys best efforts to fight it, the problem is getting worse, and is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There were over 88,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020, up around 27% from the previous year. In an effort to help bring these numbers down, the government included $4 billion for substance use and mental health programs in the American Rescue Plan stimulus.

Given the uncertain future and lack of significant progress to date, its fair to wonder where drug abuse is most pronounced and which areas are most at risk. This report attempts to answer those questions by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 21 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and employee drug testing laws.


Note: *No. 1 = Biggest ProblemWith the exception of Total Score, all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the worst conditions for that metric category.

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Opioid Addiction Is A National Crisis And Its Twice As Bad In Massachusetts

The opioid crisis has received a good deal of public attention, and appropriately so. But its scale may be even worse than you realize. Opioid-related deaths have increased dramatically over the past few years, and the opioid-related death rate in Massachusetts is now more than twice the national rate. To support the design of smart, tailored public responses, this research brief is organized into two short sections: 1) we put the size of the opioid crisis into context and 2) we analyze the best available data to understand why the crisis has been increasing faster in Massachusetts than in most other states. Key findings include :

Public Perception Of Substance Use Disorders:

Drug Overdose: The Number One Killing Drug in the US

Public Support for Increased Opioid Addiction Research Funding

Who Patients Hold Responsible for the Opioid Crisis

Percentage of Adults Who Felt Substance Use Was a Community Problem

Funding for Substance Use Disorders by National Institutes for Health

Percentage of Adults Who Know Someone Who Misuses Opioids

Perceived Barriers to Combating the Opioid Epidemic

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Indirect Deaths: Drug Use As A Risk Factor For Premature Death

Illicit drug use is responsible for over 585,000 premature deaths each year

This visualization shows the number of premature deaths from drug use.

This is an estimation of the number of people who died early because of the use of illicit drugs during their life. This is different from the estimates below which focus on the number of deaths directly caused by illicit drug use.

The premature deaths from illicit drug use as a risk factor encompass a wide range of causes of death for which the use of illicit drugs is a risk factor. These deaths are those premature deaths that occur because the use of illicit drugs increased the risk of diseases and injury, including suicide, liver disease, hepatitis, cancer and HIV.7

It is broken down by age this is most clearly visible in the relative view. In 2017 42% of all who died were younger than 50 years.

Over 128,000 die from drug overdoses per year more than half are younger than 50 years

This chart shows the number of direct deaths those from drug use disorders by age.

Overdoses of illicit drugs caused an estimated 128,000 deaths in 2019 69% were younger than 50 years old.

Opioids were responsible for the largest number of drug overdoses

The visualization shows the number of deaths from overdoses by specific drugs.

Here we see that opioids were responsible for the largest number of overdoses 110,000 in 2017. The number of opioid deaths has been rising steeply over the past few years.

How America Is Helping Its Most Drug

The federal government recently issed grants to each state to help the nation combat drug abuse specifically opioid addiction. Some states received more funding than others, based on existing resources, treatment facilities, and opioid overdose statistics. These funds will mainly be used to improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and expand access to addiction treatments and prevention efforts.

Drug rehab centers offers treatments that can help those who suffer from substance abuse overcome addiction as a whole. Detox treatments help patients overcome chemical dependency, while counseling, support groups, and similar therapies address underlying psychological causes of addiction. Addiction treatments are often customized for each individual patient based on the severity of their addiction and the substance being used.

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Are Drug Use Disorders More Common In Young People

There is often the perception that substance use is more common in young people. But does the data support this assumption?

In the chart we see the prevalence of drug use disorders differentiated by age group, given as the percentage of people within that age bracket with a drug use dependency.

Here the USA is shown, but this data can be found for any country using the change country button on the chart.

Overall, we tend to find that the prevalence of drug use disorders is highest in people in their twenties. For example, in the USA, 9 percent of those aged 20-24 years old had a drug use disorder in 2017 this is three-times higher than the total population average of 3 percent. The higher prevalence of substance use disorders in people in their twenties is consistent across most countries.

Is this finding a reflection of todays young generation, or has this been a historically consistent trend with age? In other words: is the prevalence in todays young cohort uncharacteristically high, or is it a persistent pattern that drug use increases through peoples late teens and early twenties before declining thereafter? It appears to be the latter. The finding that drug use disorders tend to be most common in people in their early twenties has been consistently reported for decades: studies dating back to the 1980s and 1990s attempt to explain why substance use tends to peak during this period.17,18

How Can I Lessen My Teens Risk For Drug Use

DRUG ADDICTION number one killer in America.

There are some factors that lessen a teens risk factors for drug use.

Those include:

  • A good parent-child relationship: Being emotionally close with your child strengthens the parental bond. Research shows that children who report strong bonds with parents are less likely to use drugs. You can lessen your childs risk by spending more time with them, asking questions about their days, and taking the time to get to know them.
  • Strong family and community connections: Just like strong parental bonds lessen risk, so do other types of bonds. Teens who are active in their communities are less likely to abuse drugs. The presence of extended family, church communities, and school communities can lessen your childs risk.
  • The presence of parents at home when the teen is home: Most teen drug abuse happens in an empty house. Merely being home in time for dinner can lessen your childs risk. Your presence is a deterrent, but kids are also less likely to abuse drugs if they know youre always home when they need you.
  • Less access to substances in the house, including prescription drugs, alcohol, or OTC drugs: Parents should discard any unused narcotic drugs. Most police stations and pharmacies will take pills for safe disposal with no questions asked. Lock up drugs and alcohol in the home, even seemingly safe medications like Benadryl.

These simple changes can make your teen less likely to abuse drugs in your home.

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Why Do People Use Drugs

For many, drug use starts with mere experimentation. This can stem from curiosity about what its like to be high or peer pressure. Others stumble upon drugs as an escape from the uncomfortable feelings of sadness or anxiety they experience. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports about 20 percent of substance abusers have an anxiety disorder or a mood disorder, such as depression. When someone is struggling with mental illness, it often isnt visible to the sufferer, who is in the thick of it.

For many Americans, drug use starts with a prescription. Opiate-based drugs like OxyContin are notorious for both their addictive properties and their likelihood of being overprescribed. The Los Angeles Times reported more around 92,200 people were treated for overdoses on prescription opioid pain relievers in 2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes an astounding 259 million prescriptions were written for opioid painkillers in 2012 alone.

What Are The Socioeconomic Consequences

The opioid epidemic is having devastating consequences on other aspects of public health, causing high rates of hepatitis C, HIV, and other diseases, mainly due to shared syringes. Meanwhile, mothers could pass an opioid dependency on to their children if they use while pregnant. Incidences of neonatal abstinence syndrome, or withdrawal symptoms experienced by newborns exposed to drugs while in the womb, jumped by more than 80 percent between 2010 and 2017. The opioid crisis likely also contributed to an uptick in the number of children in foster care.

Opioids have also taken a toll on the economy. Testifying before the U.S. Senate in 2017, Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, linked the opioid epidemic to among prime-age workers. Late Princeton University economist Alan Krueger wrote that it could account for 20 percent of the among men and 25 percent among women from 1999 to 2015.

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Who Is Using Drugs

People of all demographics choose to use substances, but some groups may be more likely to use drugs than others, as well as being more prone to drug addiction. Here is a summary of published data that shows the groups most likely to use, the types of substances they prefer, and why theyre more likely to indulge.

Each Year Approximately 3040 Million Americans Use Marijuana By Smoking It

Infographic: Alcohol and Drug Related Deaths

What is the most commonly used illicit drug among persons aged 12 and older? In 2017, about 1.2 million Americans aged 1217 and 525,000 over 26 years used marijuana for the first time. Marijuana is increasingly becoming legal across the United States, both for medical and recreational use, but it still isnt entirely secure because it can be addictive and cause health issues.

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Statistics On Specific Population Demographics And Addiction

Adolescents :

  • In 2017, approximately 4% of the American adolescent population age 12 to 17 suffered from a substance use disorder this equals 992,000 teens or 1 in 25 people in this age group.1
  • About 443,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 had an alcohol use disorder in 2017, or 1.8% of adolescents.1
  • An estimated 741,000 adolescents suffered from an illicit drug use disorder in 2017, or about 3% of this population.1

Young adults aged 18-25:

  • About 5.1 million young adults age 18 to 25 battled a substance use disorder in 2017, which equates to 14.8% of this population and about 1 in 7 people.1
  • About 3.4 million young adults age 18 to 25 had an alcohol use disorder in 2017, or about 10% of young adults.1
  • About 2.5 million young adults had an illicit drug use disorder in 2017, or about 7.3% of this population.1
  • Heroin use among young adults between 18 and 25 years old doubled in the past decade.4

Over age 26:

  • Approximately 13.6 million adults age 26 or older struggled with a substance use disorder in 2017, or 6.4% of this age group.1
  • About 10.6 million adults age 26 and older had an alcohol use disorder in 2017, or about 5% of this age group.1
  • About 4.3 million adults age 26 or older had an illicit drug use disorder in 2017, or 2% of this age group.1

Elderly individuals:

Men vs. women:


Criminal justice/employment status:

Understanding The 10 Most Commonly Abused Drugs

Though alcohol and marijuana are the top 2 most commonly abused drugs, they are not the only type of drug that people abuse or misuse. In addition to these, people also abuse pain relievers, hallucinogens, depressants, cocaine, inhalants, methamphetamine, and heroin.

The infographic here highlights the 10 most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Were you aware of these numbers?

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What Is The Difference Between Substance Use Disorder Substance Use And Misuse

Substance use, in the broadest terms, is any ingestion of mood- or behavior-altering substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs. Substance misuse is the use of any substance that is outside the prescribed or intended use of that substance, such as off-label usage of prescription drugs or underage drinking.

Prolonged use of these substances can result in substance use disorder , which can affect not only the individual, but the person’s family and community.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , substance use disorders :

occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.

The behavioral signs of substance use disorder may include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • General changes in overall attitude
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming
  • Need for money and stealing money or valuables
  • Persistent dishonesty
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior

Treatment For Drug Abuse And Addiction Is Delivered In Many Different Settings Using A Variety Of Behavioral And Pharmacological Approaches

What Is The Number One Drug in America?

Drug addiction is a complex disorder that can involve virtually every aspect of an individual’s functioningin the family, at work and school, and in the community.

Because of addiction’s complexity and pervasive consequences, drug addiction treatment typically must involve many components. Some of those components focus directly on the individual’s drug use others, like employment training, focus on restoring the addicted individual to productive membership in the family and society , enabling him or her to experience the rewards associated with abstinence.

Treatment for drug abuse and addiction is delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral and pharmacological approaches. In the United States, more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities provide counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and other types of services to persons with substance use disorders.

Along with specialized drug treatment facilities, drug abuse and addiction are treated in physicians’ offices and mental health clinics by a variety of providers, including counselors, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and social workers. Treatment is delivered in outpatient, inpatient, and residential settings. Although specific treatment approaches often are associated with particular treatment settings, a variety of therapeutic interventions or services can be included in any given setting.

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What Are The Top 10 Most Used Drugs

Here are some of the most commonly-used drugs today:

  • Tobacco Tobacco claims more lives than any other addictive substance in the United States. While it is legal, it can lead to extreme health complications.
  • Alcohol Since its legal for individuals over 21 years old in the US, alcohol is clearly one of the most commonly-used drugs. Consequences of alcohol abuse include liver disease, overdose, lowered inhibitions, legal troubles, and more.
  • Painkillers Painkillers like codeine, Vicodin, and OxyContin are prescribed to treat pain but are extremely addictive and can quickly lead to dependence.
  • Heroin Heroin, a highly addictive illicit drug, can quickly cause addiction. Those who abuse heroin are likely to experience intense withdrawal symptoms after use. Recovery from heroin is especially difficult and may require inpatient rehabilitation treatment.
  • Cocaine While cocaine addiction has been declining for the past couple of decades in the US, crack cocaine abuse is still very prevalent.
  • Benzodiazepines Benzos are a type of prescription drug that helps manage anxiety and depression. Brand names include Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin. Benzos have a powerful impact on the brains chemical makeup, so withdrawal could be severe.
  • Stimulants Stimulants range from common prescription drugs like Adderall to illicit substances like meth. They are highly addictive, which can lead to intense withdrawal.
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