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Drug Addiction in America

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You’d have to be willfully and intentionally ignoring the issue to miss it. Most, if not all, of us have some touch-points with addiction and the ravaging effects it has on the body and mind. Aside from the devastation it causes the individual user, it affects the lives of their loved ones, perhaps even you reading this right now, in a massive way on drug addiction in America.

As the perception of addiction slowly shifts from seeing drug abuse as exclusively criminal behavior to realizing that addiction is truly an illness, the stigma of getting treatment begins to soften.

Addicted Americans

An Introduction To Drug Addiction in the U.S.

Drug addiction in America is rampant. It’s an epidemic. 

More than 6,000 people die each year from drug abuse in the US, and millions more are affected by addiction. Alcoholism or drug use disorder is a long-term mental illness.

The brain’s regular functioning is disrupted by drugs, resulting in a person’s compulsive need to consume drugs or participate in dangerous behaviours again and over again. Addictions may wreak havoc on a person’s relationships, career, and health.

In fiscal year 2019, the government’s drug control budget was $29.9 billion. At $34.6 billion in 2020, it increases even more in 2021. To put it another way, this data indicates that the government sees the situation as becoming worse.

In addition, the National Institute on Drug Consumption estimates that the yearly cost of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug abuse is $740 billion, which is a staggering sum. This includes money spent on crime, lost productivity at work, and health care costs, among other things.

drug addiction

How Many Americans Are Addicted to Drugs?

To put it bluntly; it’s a lot. The scourge of drug addiction in America is widespread. A study by the National Institutes of Health estimates that about 10 percent of Americans have had a drug use disorder at some point in their life. That translates to more than 23 million people. Worse yet, the same study said only about 25% of those with substance abuse problems actually get treatment. In other words, 75% of our fellow citizens that struggle with this, never seek help.

That number might seem vague, the 23 million, the timeline perhaps a little unclear and lumping in drug abuse in the distant past to today to make it seem worse. Taking a specific year, 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that approximately 19.7 million had a substance abuse disorder related to alcohol or illicit drug use within that year. Truly astounding.

To break it down by the most prominent and widely used drugs is instructive in painting a more detailed picture of our collective reality with respect to abuse.

Opioids are broadly used and very widely prescribed painkillers, you’ll easily recognize the most well-known names in this class of drugs; Codeine, Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Morphine.

They’re highly effective in treating all sorts of chronic and severe pain, ranging from headaches to recovery from surgery to those undergoing cancer treatment. 

At present the United States is going through an epidemic of opioid overdoses, deaths from it increasing drastically over the years, by 5 times between 1999 and 2016 in fact. In total over 700,000 have died in that period.

More than 2 million Americans are abusing opioids and on average, over 130 die per day from overdosing.

Methamphetamine is not something that occurs naturally and is thus completely man-made, it’s an exceptionally addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. 

There are a number of ways to get meth into the system, users can smoke, snort, swallow or inject it and the method of intake dramatically affects the intensity of the high.

Meth is so downright addictive because it causes dopamine to inundate the brain, leading to potent feelings of euphoria and pleasure. A formidable experience which can hook users extremely quickly and have them seeking that high in an all-consuming kind of way.

A 2017 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that around 1.6 million people (.6% of the population) reported using meth.

Across the country, overdose deaths that involve meth increased by 7.5 times between 2007 and 2017.

Cocaine is an intense and strongly addictive stimulant. In 2014 NSDUH found that 913,000 Americans were dependent on or abusing cocaine with the highest rate of usage among young adults in the 18 to 25 demographic.

Remarkably, the amount of students who have used cocaine, grades 9 through 12, is 5% and concerning seniors specifically, it’s 2.2%.

In the main, according to numbers from 2016, nearly 1.9 million (.8%) of Americans 18 or older, were using cocaine.

The tendency to mix cocaine with other drugs shows up in the number of emergency room visits with over 1 in 3 drug misuse/abuse trips to the ER involving cocaine.

Short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA is a stimulant and hallucinogenic. It’s often referred to as “Molly” or “Ecstasy” and considered a club drug. A large part of the danger lies in the fact that MDMA is often cut and adulterated with other drugs, ultimately meaning that you never really know what you’re getting.

The usage numbers are less than other drugs but also skew to the markedly younger side with 4% of those 18-25 in 2013 saying they used it within that year. More than 17 million people aged 12 and up have used MDMA at least once before.

Far and away the most widely used illicit and psychotropic drug, marijuana seems almost commonplace these. It has very much moved into the mainstream with a majority of Americans supporting its legalization.

That said, it’s not to be taken lightly.

In 2018 nearly 12 million young adults reported using marijuana in the past year and a recent Gallup poll shows that 12% of American adults said they smoke the drug.

While not as addictive as the previously mentioned substance, it is quite possible to develop some dependency disorder. The NIH says roughly 30% of those who use it may have some level of use disorder and those who start smoking it when younger are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop a dependence on it.

How All American Detox Can Help?

Recovery from drug misuse is a lifelong process. It is a long-term endeavour. Establishing the proper foundation is essential to ensuring that your treatment is effective and long-lasting. Once you have made the decision to embark forward into a life of serenity, our Los Angeles drug detox center is the first step on that path.

Our comprehensive residential inpatient drug rehab allows you to live the journey from alcoholism to sobriety in a safe and pleasant atmosphere. Despite the fact that we provide many therapies, such as medication-assisted therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectic behavioural therapy, and individual and group sessions.

Given our extensive expertise in treating drug misuse, we recognise that each client is unique, and as a result, we customise each recovery programme to meet your specific requirements, checking all the boxes that will eventually set you or your loved one up for success in the future.


Achieve freedom from addiction with All American Detox, get in touch with us today to learn more and see if addiction treatment in Los Angeles is the right next step for you.

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What is the Most Common Drug Addiction in America?

Illicit drug use is one thing and the problems that America faces with it are very real but when it comes to what people in the United States are most addicted to, there’s a substance that plainly outpaces the rest and it’s legal; alcohol. It’s one of our biggest issues in public health however it doesn’t seem to get the same attention, perhaps because of that normalizing.

A 2018 study by the NSDUH found that 86.3% of those aged 18 or older had drunk alcohol at some point in their life and 55.3% said they drank within the last month at the time of the study. This generally just points to the high levels of normalization that we have with drinking.

Problem drinking and alcohol use disorder is a different story.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that 26.45% of adults engaged in binge drinking (5 or more drinks within a couple of hours of each other) within the month of the study.

14.4 million adults struggle with alcohol use disorder and only about 8% of those who seek treatment.

Recalling from above, the economic impact of substance abuse in America stood at $740 billion, alcohol abuse makes up $249 billion of that based on numbers from 2010.

Deaths from alcoholic liver disease stood at 22,246 in 2017 and more broadly speaking about 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year. Put differently, alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in America. Addiction in America is fueled by the fact that drinking is so prevalent in our culture.

Alcohol abuse is a problem right in front of all our faces and it grabs us when young. 401,000 youth aged 12-17 had alcohol use disorder in 2018. People aged 12 to 20 consumed 11% of all alcohol in the U.S. and 4.3 million binges drank at least once a month.

Struggling with addiction?

The Woodland Hills and Los Angeles All American Detox Centers provide drug and alcohol detoxification and addiction treatment. We deal with the majority of the main insurance companies and are here to assist anybody in the United States who is suffering from drug dependency. Now is the time for you to dial our number or request a call back.

Addiction in America: Death Rates

Drug Addiction In The U.S

Without treatment, death is a painful reality that users and their friends and families may eventually face when dealing with drug abuse.

The above breakdown shows that deaths from all these substances happen with troubling regularity and the deeper someone falls into the pit of addiction the more likely that outcome becomes.

Sadly, as has been widely covered in the news of late, deaths from drug use have skyrocketed in recent years. From 1999 to 2018 overdose deaths from all illicit or prescription opioids rose from around 20,000 to over 67,000

Provisional counts made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2019 are over 69,000 deaths.

With nearly 20 million Americans contending with a substance abuse disorder of some kind, it’s no wonder the rates of death continue to trend up.

A History of Substance Abuse Rates: Then & Now

The National Center for Biotechnology Information makes an interesting observation that most of the modern problems, as well as the benefits, resulting from drug use are the outcome of scientific and technological progress. An interesting idea to consider. 

That thought encapsulates and puts into perspective the recency of some of what we’re dealing with. Alcohol and marijuana have been around for ages but as we pushed the boundaries of science, new compounds were created. In many ways that was miraculous, offering relief to a great many people.

However, like with the ongoing opioid epidemic, use has grown into misuse and ultimately abuse. The prescription drugs that were created have been wildly overprescribed, putting too large of supply in the hands of people that may not have needed it in the first place. Drugs whose effects are so dramatic are easier to get hooked on as the high is something that we naturally chase. Truly a double-edged sword.

Moreover, drugs have gotten more accessible, the rate of death mentioned above points to that.
In the United States, from the 1960s onwards funding increased significantly to research drug abuse. While substance abuse in America has always been with us in some form or another, the ways in which we study it have gotten vastly more sophisticated which in turn allows us to be able to better react.

How to Tackle Drug Addiction in America

Identifying and admitting the problem is critical to making progress toward solving it. We won’t be able to repair it if we don’t speak about it. Addiction and the drug addiction facts that it is a long-term illness will make it easier for us to look at ideas for what to do next.

Recovering from addiction is a very tough journey to take on your own, and there are several dangers to be aware of. Given that many people’s descents into drug or alcohol misuse are affected by the actions of others, one would expect that climbing out of a hole would be easier with the assistance of others.

That means that the best way for addicts and those who care about them to get better is to get help from experts.

There are various drug rehab center around the nation where anybody can get the treatment they need in order to achieve sobriety. Don’t wait to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. Call a treatment facility right now.

Drug Addiction in America
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