National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is an annual health observance week, targeted toward teenagers, connects teens with a variety of resources to demystify information about drugs and alcohol, influenced by the internet, social media, TV, movies, music and friends. First launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the observance is in its tenth year.
Below are a list of drug and alcohol facts that may be surprising to most people, or are particularly illuminating to the adolescent population:
- Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet 10% receive treatment
- About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have an addiction
- More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old
- Alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the United States
- Nearly 494,000 Americans over the age of 12 are regular heroin users
- 16,000 of 774,000 Americans who are regular meth users are between the ages of 12 and 17
- In 2005, of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use
- Genetics, including the impact of one’s environment on gene expression, account for about 40% to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction
- Of the 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails, more than 65% meet the criteria for addiction.
- The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. This rate is similar to rates of relapse for other chronic diseases such as hypertension or asthma.
- Recent study findings revealed there were concurrent and lasting effects of teenage cannabis use on important cognitive functions — such as working memory, perceptual reasoning and inhibitory control.
- Although rates of opioid prescribing for adolescents are low, those with anxiety, mood and neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as those with other mental health conditions and treatments, are more likely to be prescribed any opioid.
Some of those facts may be surprising for a number of reasons. Many share numbers that put how widespread substance abuse is into perspective. In regard to drugs such as marijuana, some may not be aware that is use can hinder important cognitive functions. Additionally, the numbers may highlight how dangerous drug use can truly be.
Tishanna Dillard, Marketing Operations Specialist
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