10 Substance Abuse

1. Each year in the US, more than 90,000 deaths occur related to illicit drug, prescription drug, and alcohol abuse, which equates to 1 in every 4 deaths.

Every year there are more substance abuse related deaths, illnesses, and disabilities than those of any other preventable health condition.

The number of deaths each year related to overdoses of heroine and prescription drugs has been increasing rapidly since 2000.

2. More than $700 billion is spent each year due to tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use and abuse.

These costs are related to healthcare, crime, and lost work productivity.

3. While teen use of cigarettes and alcohol has declined over the past 20 years, use of illicit drugs has remained constant among teens in grades 8 through 12.

A 2015 study found that nearly 25% of 12th graders had been using illicit drugs within the past month, in addition to 17% of 10th graders and 8% of 8th graders.

4. Environmental factors such as home environment and family support or peer support and school environment can greatly affect one’s risk of addiction.

Children are more likely to develop a drug problem if they have a family member who abuses drugs or alcohol or who participates in criminal activity.

Poor social skills and academic struggles can also increase a child’s risk of addiction. Even children with many protective factors against addiction can be influenced by drug-using peers.

5. The younger people begin using drugs, the increasingly more likely they are to develop serious problems related to drug use and abuse as an adult.

This may be related to drug effects on a still developing brain, or due to early vulnerability related to social and biological factors.

6. Drug abuse can chemically affect your brain’s pleasure center, causing you to feel reliant on the drug to feel normal.

When most drugs are taken, the brain experiences a rush of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which is associated with the regulation of emotion, motivation, feelings of pleasure, and movement.

Drugs can release anywhere from 2 to 10 times more dopamine than is normally released by the brain during naturally pleasurable activities. The brain soon adjusts its normal dopamine levels to compensate, making once-enjoyable activities much harder to remain pleasurable.

7. The implementation of research-based prevention programs, such as by parents, educators, or community leaders, can significantly reduce the likelihood of early tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use.

Because addiction is so difficult to stop and cope with, the best treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is to prevent abuse in the first place, especially among youth.

8. Yet in 2009, only 11% of people who needed treatment for a substance abuse problem with illicit drugs or alcohol actually received treatment at a specialty facility.

Most entering treatment during this time were seeking treatment of alcohol abuse. Heroin and opiates made up the largest portion of drug-related admissions into treatment facilities.

9. Behavioral therapies are especially helpful in treating addiction, through modifying one’s attitudes and behaviors regarding their drug use.

Behavioral therapies combined with treatment medications can increase the effectiveness of such medications, and increase the amount of time the individual remains in treatment.

1o. With proper treatment, skills, and support, addiction can be managed and does not have to be a lifelong sentence.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy is effective in quickly helping the client to motivate oneself to change their behaviors and to agree to treatment.

Contingency Management focuses on rewarding clients for remaining drug free and participating actively in treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy empowers clients to recognize, avoid, and cope with situations that may increase their cravings or desire to use.

Family Therapy addresses family interactions and dynamics that may not be conducive to the client avoiding drug use and remaining sober.

Sources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2015-survey-results

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-abuse-addiction

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-statistics

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/mortality

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