Healthcare, Lifestyle, Medicine

Peering into the American Drug Addiction Crisis

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Opoid Drug Addiction in America

Drug abuse is a serious problem in this country. Each day, hundreds of people are admitted to treatment centers around the U.S. The vast majority will drop out or fall back into drug abuse. So, what’s going on? Are people just unreceptive to treatments being offered? Are treatment facilities doing all they can to truly address these issues? Many specialized addiction clinics and centers still utilize antiquated approaches to dealing with extremely complex issues. Treating patients is a tough. There is often much more going on than simple addiction that can be resolved with some detox. Uncovering and resolving the underlying issues which bring about addiction is critical. Without this, we will continue seeing the ridiculous amounts of relapse and program abandonment rates that plague modern treatment centers.

Below are some of the startling numbers that give light to why drug abuse is still such a serious issue today:

Over 23 million Americans over the age of 12 suffer from some form of substance abuse – nearly the size of Australia! However, only 11.2% of individuals needing treatment for substance abuse will ever get treated. With such a large population left untreated, addiction likely hits closer to home for more than you may have first thought.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

The cost of substance abuse has been rising over the years, with total cost estimates – including crime and lost work – coming in between 400 and 600 billion. That’s close to a fifth of the United States federal budget for a year. Only around 137 billion of the total is spent on actual healthcare services.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

One in every 5 people in substance abuse programs are there for problems with alcohol. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. Although alcohol abuse has continued to decline over the years, it still claims over 80,000 lives each year in the U.S. alone.

Source: Alcohol Alert – Drunk Driving Statistics

An eye-opening article published by Vice dove into the lives of some addicts, showing how some would spend anywhere between $400 and $1200 a day to satisfy their cocaine addictions. Average monthly costs of cocaine per user in the U.S. is $833. This is still relatively low when compared to other drugs like meth or heroin.

Source: Vice – We Asked Drug Addicts How Much Their Drug Habit Costs Them

With demand for heroin rising steadily, drug cartels have amped up production to over 38 metric tons each year. In 2013 alone, the U.S. seized over 2500 kilograms of heroin. The high rates of abuse are attributed to people switching over from prescription drugs. A study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that a large percentage of those taking heroin for the first time had abused prescription drugs in the past.

Source: DEA – National Drug Threat Assessment Summary

Drug detox typically lasts anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks. While detox varies from person to person and depends on the drug of choice, complete drug detox can last weeks or even months. Longer detox periods result from the fact that people frequently relapse.

Source: Recovery.org – Understanding Addiction Treatment Program Lengths

5000 people are admitted to emergency rooms each day for drug abuse. In 2009 alone, there were approximately 400,000 visits for cocaine and 200,000 for heroin. This was nothing compared to alcohol, with over 600,000 visits in 2009 being attributed to the drug. This number has grown over the years, with an 80% increase between 2004 and 2009.

Source: Drugabuse.gov – Drug-Related Hospital Emergency Room Visits

Over the last 2 decades, the amount of people dying from drug overdoses has increased drastically. Close to 100 people every day succumb to drug overdoses. Prescription drugs have played a big part in this trend. Since the early 2000s, the amount of prescription drugs sold in the United States has nearly quadrupled. Deaths from synthetic opiods such as heroin are just as great. From 2014 to 2015, the amount of heroin overdoses nearly doubled from approximately 5,500 to over 9,500. The amount of people who have died of overdoses from such drugs between 2000 to 2015 is over 500,000.

Source: CDC – Understanding the Epidemic

20 to 29-year old’s have the highest admission rates at drug treatment facilities. The third most prevalent age group – roughly 13% – consisted of 40 to 44-year old’s. Of these admissions, around 60% were Caucasian, 20% African American, 14% Hispanic or Latino and 6% were American Indian, Alaska Native or Other.

Source: Drugabuse.gov – Treatment Statistics

Only a small percentage of people ever complete their drug abuse treatment programs. 70-80% of people drop out during the first 3-6 months. High relapse numbers in many facilities has been attributed to outdated or ineffective treatment programs. Effective treatment programs require more than the standard, one-size-fits-all approach.

Source: American Addiction Centers – Rehab Success Rates and Statistics

Drug addiction is chronic and often requires lifelong investments into people’s physical and mental well-being. Each person is different, so each treatment should be unique. Learn more about America’s ongoing battle with substance abuse at the California New Life Detox & Recovery website.

 

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Greg is the treatment coordinator at California New Life Detox & Recovery Homes. He has a passion for helping people overcome their substance abuse challenges.

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