Drug Abuse Facts In The United States

While the use of drugs is a common, well-known fact in the United States, it’s important to actually take a look at some of the statistics tied with such abuse. It will give you a better idea of the severity of the issue of drug abuse and will help re-emphasize the importance of tackling this problem as best we can.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health’s…

drug abuse in the united states

annual survey indicates some startling facts about drug use in the United States. Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug. This is not so much a surprise, as it is seemingly easily accessible, not to mention legal in some states. However, it is used by 14.8 million people, which is around 6%. Some say that is a low statistics.

Marijuana is a popular drug among teenagers and young adults. The controversy among marijuana continues to be relevant in our society.

Following marijuana use is the abuse of cocaine. This powerful and highly addictive stimulant is used by 2.4 million people. Cocaine is a popular drug within the night life crowd and does not produce a lot of overdose deaths. However, this drug can and will cause heart problems with long term use.  Hallucinogens, such as Ecstasy, fall into the next slot. These dangerous and mind altering drugs are used by nearly 1 million people, while methamphetamine is the choice of about 731,000 users.

The Rise of Prescription Pills

Prescription drugs, which are having a noticeably growing presence in the world of drug abuse, were used by 7 million non-medical users. This statistic is startling, as access to these drugs is not as difficult as one would think. Consider the ease with which some doctors write prescriptions. Many are getting into the wrong hands, hence contributing to the improper distribution of these prescription drugs.

One of the most dangerous things about prescription pills is that they are very accepted by society. The lines easily get blurred between using prescription drugs as a medical necessity, and abusing them. They are highly addictive so in many cases people get addicted by accident, and the drugs take over their lives. Once addicted to prescription drugs, it can be very difficult to quit. These drugs are most common in middle aged, middle class Americans, and are also one of the most prevalent drugs among women in this same demographic. Prescription drugs lead to many accidental overdoses.

Another unsettling series of facts revolves around who is actually abusing these different drugs. According to the survey, most of these illegal drug users, around 13.4 million, are fully employed. They carry on their positions in a business setting while abusing. And out of the unemployed adults, 18.5 million are illicit drug users. Also, take note that 8.8 % of full time employees are drug users.

As if those statistics aren’t disturbing enough, it is stated that 10.2 million people drive under the influence of drugs, not only endangering their own lives, but the lives of innocent bystanders.

Drug abuse in the United States sadly continues to grow. With such abuse running rampant in our cities and towns, it is imperative that we work together to lower these statistics. America has one of the highest drug abuse rates in the world, so it is a change in mindset and a change in societal norms that will bring such a problem to a halt.

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  1. TomM says

    “it is often fatal if untreated” It is ALWAYS fatal if left untreated. Sometimes the progression is slow, sometimes it is fast, but it always gets worse. As someone who struggled with pills for over 10 years, I live this disease every day. I burned bridges, lost my job, house, marriage, and almost my life. I didn’t care, all I wanted was that next pill, and wold do anything to get it. I was selfish, dishonest, and used everyone to get what I wanted. Pretty much he characteristics of every addict.

    I have 2 years sober, and I still need to constantly manage the choices I make as I know I am always one high or one drunk away from being exactly where I left off. I go to AA meetings to stay connected with others who have gone through the same struggles and try to be open, honest, and selfless.

    When I was in rehab, we often saw this commercial and always got a good laugh at the entire concept of a “cure”. For a long time I wished I could do something to make it go away. But I now accept that it is a part of me. H

    Just like diabetes, and other diseases, addiction can be managed Lifelong sobriety is possible, but it will never go away.

    Thanks for the article, great read!

  2. says

    My favorite rebuttal to Passages’ “cure” comes from the LA Weekly article that came out a few years ago.

    Upon reading the Prentiss book, one will notice that he very explicitly states the need for permanent abstainance. As I recall, the rationale has to do with the extent to which one’s brain becomes permanently “wired for addiction”; any substance use re-activates the wiring and one is right back in the throes of addiction.

    Does this sound like a cure?

    When I think of curing addiction, I think of the possibility of “having just one”. You know, drinking like a non-alcoholic. Social drinking. If Passages can cure addiction, why is permanent abstainance still an absolute necessity? What they call a cure is in practice markedly similar to the goal of 12 step programs: continued abstainance. But the 12 steps don’t call this a cure because it requires daily maintenance. Passages can play all the semantic games they wish, but daily abstainance is daily maintenance; if this is a cure, the twelve step programs are offering as well.

    Certain diseases can go into remission. Maybe they’ll stay in remission for the rest of one’s life. This is not considered a cure, however, because it can always come back.

    I think passages is a great program for certain addicts and alcoholics, but such rhetoric is dangerous and disingenuous. I wish they would just be honest and upfront about exactly what they offer and not resort to a needlessly-reductive “us vs them” binarization with the 12 step programs. What’s the point?

  3. Shannon says

    This commercial still humors me. Being an addict for about 15 years and now only weeks away from 11 years clean & sober, I know for me there is NO cure.

    Like the COPD I deal with every day, the addiction is simply something I treat with contact with my Higher Power. With the help of my God, sponsor and support group; in addition to following suggestions (step work, meetings, service work) I can ‘treat myself.’ Same as when I use my inhaler, I’m treating myself.

    I really enjoyed this article and the authors take on it. I also respect the fact that the author never blasted passages or their spokes person.

    Thank you.

  4. says

    You don’t have to go any farther than the title page of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to find the term recovered: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. [Big Book, title page]
    The word recover is a synonym for the word cure according to ThesaurusOnline.com.
    Unless you’d like to throw AA out the window, the answer is YES…we do recover.
    I am a recovered alcoholic and addict.

  5. Lauri says

    Their commercial is laughed at by anyone and everyone who knows anything about the DISEASE of addiction. No different than saying, “I had diabetes, now I’m cured” LOLOL. How about they post their stats for public view? Guaranteed they will reflect the truth of addiction, that it’s an incurable, lifelong disease that includes relapsing as a part of the process towards sustained abstinence. I’m not only an addict, I was also an addiction therapist for a decade. This commercial is the most ridiculous, irresponsible commentary on addiction WE have ever heard. Yes, WE. Those of us who have a shred of knowledge about addiction, which these people clearly don’t. Should be sued for false advertisement-Half of the people treated there will relapse within the first year of recovery, proven statistic.

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