The New Day Addiction: What Numbers Have to Show
Addiction today is still a major problem that affects millions of people in the US. The opioid crisis is ongoing but it’s not the only issue contributing to health complications and even the loss of human lives. Alcohol and cocaine addictions also top the list. Regardless of awareness campaigns and anti-addiction measures, statistical analysis still paints a troublesome picture.
Addiction Statistics Today: A Quick Overview
According to the US Addiction Center, almost 21 million Americans live with some kind of addiction. What’s even more troublesome, only 10 percent of these individuals receive some form of treatment.
Expectedly, alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 74 percent of the US adults who are addicted right now struggle with an alcohol use disorder.
Worldwide, alcohol consumption causes 5.3 percent of all registered death or about one in 20 cases. It is estimated that globally, the number of people addicted to alcohol exceeds 300 million.
Alcohol addiction doesn’t affect just those who have the substance abuse problem. It contributes to related hazards like driving under the influence (DUI). Statistics show that in the US alone, 30 people die each day in alcohol-related traffic accidents.
What’s most troubling is the early age at which alcohol consumption starts in the US. In 2017, 2.3 million US citizens in the 12 to 17 age group started consuming alcohol.
Opioids are also featured among the most commonly abused substances in the US. The dangers here are even more pronounced than in the case of alcohol abuse due to the fact that opioids have a highly addictive nature.
In the period from 1999 to 2019, 500,000 people in the US died from an opioid overdose, the CDC reported. The 1990s mark the first wave of the opioid crisis since such medications started getting prescribed more often than before in the period. The second wave commenced in 2010, followed by a third wave in 2013. This is the year when the illicit manufacturing and distribution of many types of opioids commenced. The problem is still prevalent today.
Today, 130 Americans die on a daily basis from an opioid overdose. And these numbers aren’t surprising. In 2017 alone, physicians in the US issued more than 191.22 million opioid medication prescriptions. Since the first wave, the sale of opioid medications has gone up the staggering 300 percent!
When it comes to other drugs and addictions, tobacco, marijuana heroin and cocaine are also common.
Approximately 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Marijuana smokers are anywhere between 30 and 40 million people. When it comes to cocaine and heroin, the numbers are five million regular cocaine and 0.5 million regular heroin users in the country.
Trends in Substance Abuse and Addiction: What’s Hidden Behind the Numbers?
Several trends have emerged over the years. In some fields, awareness campaigns have achieved a lot to reveal dangers and discourage Americans from substance abuse. Tobacco products are one example.
In 2000, 23.1 percent of the US adult population smoked cigarettes or used tobacco products. That percentage has gone down to 13.9 percent in 2018.
Alcohol abuse is also going down due to awareness campaigns and very strict measures against driving under the influence.
Unfortunately, other types of substance abuse have taken central stage after these positive changes occurred.
The opioid crisis is still a serious problem that plagues the US without a resolution in sight.
According to a 2020 Lancet report, deaths from opioid overdoses reached an all-time high in 2019. Almost 72,000 people lost their lives due to a drug overdose and two thirds of these cases were caused by an opioid overdose.
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic aggravated the issue even further. Recovery support services and treatments became less accessible due to lockdowns and social distancing measures. Stress, isolation and even depression went up, increasing the risk of opioid abuse over the course of the pandemic.
As of July 2020, deaths from drug overdoses went up 13 percent in the US on an annual basis. Many experts link this effect to the pandemic and the “new normal” we were forced to deal in.
Today, health authorities have to come up with new strategies to cope with the situation, the changing landscape of addiction and the challenges stemming from contemporary realities. From nation-wide policies to more comprehensive treatment plans, significant changes will be required to tackle a situation that’s already complicated enough.