Addiction stands as the top public health problem in America outstanding all other major diseases including stroke, heart diseases and even cancer. The population of addicts is far larger than the patients suffering from the three mentioned diseases in America with sufferers ranging in millions. The main deadly eight hang-ups of addiction in America includes alcoholism which shows a statistic of 29 million sufferers, drug addiction showing a figure of 13 million sufferers, sex addiction reporting 12 million sufferers, nicotine addiction affecting 61 million sufferers, addictive eating comprising of 66 million sufferers, gambling addiction involving 18 million sufferers, and two mental classes of addiction including depression with 18 million sufferers and anxiety with 3 million sufferers. The figures given above indicate that out of the total American population of 203 million, 220 millions are addicts, which is not the case. In fact the population of addicts is smaller than it seems however cross addiction is the reason for the increased count of addicts in the American society. A significant proportion of addicts are engaged not only in one type of addiction rather in two or three types simultaneously.
The cost of addiction and substance abuse in America alone exceeds $600 billion in terms of lost work productivity, crime and health care with individual substance abuse cost lying at $193 billion for tobacco addiction out of which health care cost lies at $96 billion. The overall cost burdened by the US economy due to alcoholism reaches a figure of $235 billion out of health care cost is $30 billion. Likewise the burden of illicit drugs cost reaches the figure of $193 billion overall out of which $11 billion is spent on health care of the addicts.
Further statistics relating to addiction reveal the following information
- United States totals to 5% of the world’s entire population however 2/3 of the total illegal drugs are reportedly consumed in America.
- 25% of the world’s total population of prisoners are incarcerated in America again with only 5% of the total global population.
- In the decade of 1995 to 2005, the reported patients admitted for treatment of prescription painkiller addiction increased to a 300%.
- More than 50% of Americans have a close member in the family involved in alcohol abuse or addiction.
- One in every children aged below 18 are exposed to alcohol dependence or abuse in the family.
- More than 100,000 deaths annually in America alone are attributed to abuse of drugs or alcohol.
- Out of America’s total alcohol problem drinkers 4.5 million are adolescents. Such adolescents are the leading cause of alcohol related road accidents which is the leading cause of death in young Americans aged 15 to 24.
- One in every four deaths in US is linked with tobacco, alcohol or use of illicit drugs.
- According to statistics collected in 2008, out of the total percentage of addicts in US 59.8% were white, 20.9% were African-Americans, 13.7% belonged to Hispanic origin, 2.3% were American Indian or Alaska natives, 1% were Asian or Pacific Islanders and 2.3% were others.
- The addicts admitted for treatment of substance abuse or dependence based on highest percentage include 14.8% individuals ranging between 25 to 29 years of age, 14.4% people ranging between 20 to 24 years of age and 12.6% of people ranging in between 40 to 44 years of age.
- The addicts admitted for treatment of substance abuse or dependence based on the least percentage state 0.6% people admitted to treatment facilities aged 65 and older, 1.2% of people aged 60 to 64 and 4.1% children aged 18 to 19, which is very alarming.
It is very clearly evident by the statistics that addiction mainly to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs is the leading cause of deaths in even the most developed societies of the world not to mention the numbers of addicts especially in young ages are increasing at an alarming rate. Addictions not only affect the health of the addicted and his family but also create other behavioral and psychological problems for the addict and people living close to them. For example adolescents living with addict of a substance are more prone to be physically, verbally or sexually abused and neglected as well. Adolescents that are involved in substance abuse themselves often receive poor grades and also a high percentage drop out of school too. Such adolescents are also the ones who suffer from infectious diseases, pregnancies and violence.
Some other facts related to addiction include
- Although drug addiction is increasing in numbers in the society, alcoholism remains to be the leading addiction cause in American society.
- 25% of all admissions in emergency rooms, 33% of suicides and more than 50% of domestic violence, road accidents and homicides are related to alcoholism.
- Alcoholism contributes significantly to the three largest killer diseases in the world including strokes, cancer and heart diseases.
- The leading cause of mental retardation is fetal alcohol syndrome.
- 25% of all admissions in hospitals are related to alcoholism in one way or the other.
- Untreated addiction of any type is costlier than the expense of diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. According to estimation every American pays almost $1,000 annually in wake of addiction damages.
- 90% of property crimes and mugging incidents are related to drugs whereas 70% of violent cases are committed by individuals under alcohol or drug influence.
- A drug addict on an average needs $200 daily to support their addiction and in case an addicts resorts to stealing to finance his substance of addiction he will require to steal or snatch goods worth $1,000 to raise the $200 for his addiction expense.
- Addiction of prescribed drugs in large in young people.
- 25% of students up to 8th grade are involved in smoking of marijuana regularly.
- 70% of people using illegal drugs are employed equaling to a large loss to the employers in terms of decreased productivity, absenteeism and staff turnover.