According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), there has been essentially no change or a small decrease of alcohol consumption of underage youths between 1991 and 2011. This survey is conducted every two years for youths in grades 9-12. According to this same study, however, overall drug use (cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs) has increased within the same time span. What this shows is that both drugs and alcohol remain prevalent not only in society but to our nation’s youth, with drugs steadily increasing.
Illegal drug use, which in many cases includes abuse of prescription medications, has a negative effect on the economy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) puts the overall estimated economic cost of substance abuse at $559 billion per year. Tobacco has an estimated economic cost of $193 billion per year; alcohol is approximately $185 billion per year; and illegal drugs cost approximately $181 billion per year.
Drugs like marijuana, tobacco and cocaine are not the only addictions to consider. According to the CDC, adults constitute the highest number of alcohol addicts in the country. Infrequent drinkers only amount to 13.6% of the adults in their study while regular drinkers account for 50.9%. Other surprising statistics come from NIDA that state 12% of people aged 12 years and older – that’s 30.2 million people – report that they have driven under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months.
Mortality rates attributed to alcohol are also quite high. The CDC states that 24,518 people die each year from alcohol-induced deaths (excluding homicides and accidents) and 15,183 people die from alcoholic liver diseases.
These statistics show another side of the problem: Health. People who are addicted to drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, are statistically more at risk for health-related issues, sometimes resulting in death. Most know about the cancer risks associated with tobacco. However, many drugs increase the risk of transmitting deadly diseases like HIV.
Moreover, addiction affects overall health. The immune system is weakened by the body’s dependence on drugs. Alcohol addiction often leads to obesity because of the high calorie count in alcohol. Drugs also slow down the metabolism, making it more difficult for the body to break down fat and convert it into energy.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing an addiction to any drug, they should seek help from a treatment center. A treatment center such as, A Forever Recovery, focuses on rehabilitating patients through exercise, group activities, and other psychological and physical methods should be sought. It is best to go to a treatment center that does not use medicine as a way to treat patients because of the risk of addiction.
Today's blog features an article written by Alex Kerwin, a professional who works closely with A Forever Recovery in Michigan to help raise awareness of the dangers of addiction. He has helped many Americans battle addiction and strives to provide treatment options for those in need.