By any standard, the cost of drug and alcohol addiction places a heavy burden on the economy and the already stressed US healthcare system. Hospitals and emergency rooms are under siege from addiction and substance abuse relate cases. Furthermore, the US court system and nationâ€™s jails are overloaded with drug and alcohol related cases, lawsuits and victims.
Drug and alcohol addiction are lifelong diseases that cannot be cured but can be treated. However, the possibility of relapse is always present. Achieving a life of productive sobriety is challenging to accomplish and the trail is usually laden with innocent victims.
Behind the numbers linked to alcohol and drug addiction, entire government agencies constantly monitor addiction and use trends. In 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that the number of illegal drug users aged 12 and over in the US topped off at about 7 million persons. At the same time, the survey reported that a staggering number of Americans, approximately 17 million adults or 6.4% of the population, were dependent on alcohol.
The result is that drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers are swelling. Only a small percentage of the persons who desperately need addiction treatment actually enroll in either inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation clinics. As addict after addict insists they can control the very use that is disrupting their financial future, causing relationships to crumble and putting them in either prison or the court system, the addiction landscape threatens the fabric of the country.
Hard Facts About Addiction Costs
In addition to the numerous health risks presented by alcohol abuse and addiction, a 1992 report estimated the cost of alcohol abuse at $150 billion. Furthermore, almost half the auto fatalities in the US are linked to alcohol. By 2003, healthcare expenditures related to alcohol abuse and dependency had risen to $223 billion.
Alcoholics are aware how painful detoxification and withdrawal can be. Most alcohol dependent persons have attempted to quit drinking on their own. The challenge is just too great and unmonitored withdrawal is not only painful but dangerous.
The National Survey on Drug Use and health (NSDUH) has identified a surge in heroin use as a big challenge for law enforcement. In 2010, 669.000 persons reported using heroin in the previous year. The majority of heroin users are between age 18 and 25. Since 2012, heroin has become more available than ever.
The use of club drugs like Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine and LSD has softened in recent years but analysts believe the downturn may be caused by increased availability of price-friendly heroin, one of the toughest drugs to quit.
Drug and Alcohol and Crime
The cost of alcohol and drug addiction goes well beyond healthcare expenditures. In fact, more than half the economic toll of drug and alcohol addiction is attributed to crime. Substance abusers are 18 times more likely to engage in criminal activity than their sober counterparts. 75% of college date rapes are connected to alcohol abuse. 43% of all convicted sex offenders report they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime.
The drug and alcohol addiction crises in the US must be addressed. Given that addicts are powerless to self-treat, admitting a dependent person to an addiction treatment program must be arranged by a friend or family member. The life you save could be your own!