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Current Drug Trends In The US

Posted by arizonarecovery on June 11, 2020

Substance abuse has been a major problem in the United States for more than a decade now. Drug users in the US spend billions of dollars every year just to get the high they are looking for, despite knowing they are risking their lives in the process. Alcohol, opioids, marijuana, cocaine, or name any other addictive substance, they are all responsible for killing millions of Americans every year.

Brett Favre for our sister company Scottsdale Recovery Center

Various substances such as heroin and cocaine have been an enemy to the States since the 1960s. However, if we talk about the early 2010s, trends show that out of all the illicit drugs abused by Americans, marijuana, and cocaine topped the list. Also, during this period, the country saw a spike in the abuse of a drug that would soon take the entire illicit drug market by storm – opioids. Statistics have reached proportions that indicate a national health emergency.

So, is drug abuse that bad in the US? Let’s see some trends for abuse of different substances:

Alcohol Addiction

Although alcohol is one of the most abused substances in the United States, the disorder is somehow always left untreated. Excessive drinking condition is detrimental to one’s physical, mental, and even social well-being.

  • In the US, around 6% of American adults (15 million approximately) have an excessive drinking disorder, however, only 7% of those seek medical attention.
  • Also, on average 30 Americans lose their lives every day in car accidents while drunk driving.
  • 18-25 years old males are more likely to drink excessively and develop an addiction.
  • Around 80,000 people die due to alcohol every year in the United States.
  • Alcohol addiction is also common in young teens. Approximately 2.3 million teenagers falling in the age group of 12-17 years admitted starting to drink alcohol.
  • Every year, 1 in 20 deaths around the world are caused by alcohol addiction.

However, over the past few years, the alcohol addiction rate in the US has dropped from 25% of underage drinking in the year 2013 to only 18% of the teenagers admitted to drinking underage in 2018.

Opioid Addiction

Opioids are a class of drugs that are found in many pain-relieving medications as they help ease the pain. Due to their highly addictive nature, these are controlled substances and are sold in the illicit markets.

  • Opioid overdose causes millions of deaths in the US alone.
  • The sale of opioid painkillers has spiked by more than 300% since 1999.
  • Addiction is common among even those with prescription opioids. Around 20% of people with valid prescription ends of abusing the drug.
  • 10% of those of abuse the drug becomes dependent on it causing a never-ending addiction.
  • Opioid addiction causes almost 130 deaths daily in the US.
  • Almost 5% of those with an opioid addiction proceeds to develop a heroin addiction.

Both illegal and legal opioids have been tormenting to the US and its people causing a surge of deaths over the past two decades. The addiction rate of opioids is constantly increasing.

Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is becoming legal in the majority of the US for its medicinal use. However, that doesn’t make the drug less harmful. It is still addictive and poses several health issues. Some stats related to marijuana addiction are:

  • Almost 43% of Americans have admitted trying marijuana for at least once in their life.
  • The trend of smoking marijuana is quite famous in teens. As of 2017, around 1.2 million young teens between the ages of 12 and 17 claimed using marijuana for the first time.
  • For the same year, around 525,000 American adults reported using cannabis for the first time.
  • 30% of people who use cannabis reports regular and frequent use causing an addiction.
  • In 1990, an average batch of marijuana contained no more than 4% THC. The percentage has tripled now sitting at 12% THC making marijuana more powerful compared to what it was in the 1990s. Marijuana Addiction Arizona

Tobacco Addiction

Tobacco is easily accessible and is even legal. However, the consequences of frequently abusing tobacco can be fatal and may even result in cancer in rare cases.

  • 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes, however, the percentage has well decreased from being 21% (in 2005) to 14% (in 2017).
  • 12% of American women smoke cigarettes.
  • Approximately 1.2 million Americans in the age group of 18-21 years smoked their first cigarette. 604,000 teenagers between 12-17 years of age did the same.
  • People below the poverty line, lack of education, and having disabilities are more likely to smoke cigarettes.
  • Although the percentage of smoking is reduced, it still causes around 480,000 deaths every year in the United States.

Cocaine Addiction

It is a highly addictive stimulant that causes mental disorders, risk of respiratory failure and a cardiac arrest, and many more health problems. The drug is so addictive, that only one dose can sometimes induce addiction.

  • 20% of deaths caused in 2017 involved cocaine addiction.
  • 5 million Americans are frequent cocaine users.
  • Cocaine related deaths have been increasing every year. The rate spiked by 34% from 2016 to 2017.
  • At least 4% of 12th graders in 2018 admitted to using cocaine at least once in their life.

Methamphetamine Addiction

Commonly known as meth, this highly addictive and potentially harmful drug is a controlled substance that is often sold in the illicit market. The drug is sold as white solid crystals that are burned and smoked.

  • Young teenagers are worst affected by meth with over 16,000 teens between ages 12-17 abusing the substance frequently.
  • 774,000 Americans accepted using the drug regularly.
  • As of 2017, more than 10,000 Americans suffered a fatal meth overdose.
  • From 2011 to 2016, the percentage of meth overdose has tripled.

Why Drug Abuse is High in America?

Drug abuse in the US is on the rise and there are many theories why. The most plausible theory is that the rise in chronic pain caused the Americans to seek opioid prescriptions which made them habitual to the drug. An increase in opioid consumption poses a higher risk of heroin abuse and addiction.

Second, people in the US are stressed. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2014 found that the average stress level of Americans stands at 5.1 (on a scale of 1-10). Nearly a quarter of people reported having extreme stress with money and work being two major factors. Drugs ease our mind and provide an “out of body” experience that is helpful when your mind seeks nothing but peace. See a correlation there?

Another theory revolves around the misinformation of drugs and substance abuse. People lack knowledge about the dangers of drug abuse and the adverse effects it can have on our bodies both physically and psychologically. The message needs to be spread out loud that drug abuse, doesn’t matter at what scale, is harmful.

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