Getting the straight dope about drug abuse facts, no pun intended, is important. There is a lot of information about this topic that is false or misleading, and knowing the truth is the first step to understanding this issue.
Nine Alarming Facts Related to Drug Abuse
1. Drug abuse is a problem that affects more than 23 million people in the United States alone.
According to figures released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 23.6 million people in the United States sought treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. This figure represents 9.6 of the population over the age of 12.
2. Drug abuse affects all of us.
If you ever think that drug abuse is limited to certain neighborhoods or socioeconomic groups, you may be surprised to learn that this activity places a drain on all of society. Illicit drug use is a serious problem that costs $181 billion every year for health care costs, lost productivity, legal and other costs associated with the justice system.
3. Addiction treatment programs are good investments that pay for themselves many times over.
For every dollar spent on treating drug addiction problems, society gains between $4.00 and $7.00 in reduced costs associated with drug-related criminal offenses.
4. Drug addiction treatment is more effective when abstinence is combined with some form of "talk" therapy.
The most important part of getting help for a drug abuse problem is to stop using the drug. Once the addict has gone through the detoxification process and his body is free from its effects, the work of recovery can begin. During this part of treatment, the addict examines why he began using drugs and learns strategies for dealing with triggers that may tempt him to use again.
5. Drug addiction is considered a chronic disease.
Drug addicts have a treatable disease, but that shouldn't be confused with the idea that that they are cured once they complete a treatment program. The truth is that they aren't cured if they aren't using, and there is always a possibility that they will have a relapse and begin using again.
6. Not all drugs being abused are illicit ones.
Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the United States. Simply because a medication is prescribed by a doctor, that doesn't mean that the user is somehow immune from becoming addicted to it. Oxycodone, morphine and codeine are prescribed to treat pain and have the potential for addiction. Barbiturates ("downers") and stimulants ("uppers") are also used by addicts to escape from worry and stress or stay alert, respectively.
7. Over the counter medications can be addictive.
Pain relieving medications that contain codeine have the potential to become addictive if not used according to the instructions on the package. Some cough syrups fall into this category as well. If you have questions or concerns about a product, ask a pharmacist for more information before you buy it.
8. More than 20 percent of teens in the United States use marijuana.
Health.com reports that 22 percent of young people in the U.S. use this drug, and 40 percent have tried it at least once. Marijuana use can lead to memory problems, difficulty concentrating and mood swings.
9. Nine percent of teens have also experimented with cocaine.
Nine percent of teens have experimented with cocaine, and four percent of them use this drug regularly. Cocaine is a stimulant that makes the user feel alert and energetic. It can be dangerous, since it increases heart beat and blood pressure. Users run the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke from the strain it puts on the respiratory system.
Arm Yourself With the Facts
Doing some research into drug abuse facts gives you much-needed information about this important issue. Whether an abuser is someone you know or someone else's loved one, his or her drug use affects everyone in the long run.