America’s Drug Epidemic
America is the middle of an evolution that is costing the country billions of dollars every year. As stress levels rise for citizens from one state to the next, the country finds itself mired in an epidemic of opiate abuse and alcoholism. The damage this is doing to the country’s natural and human resources is going to have far-reaching effects.
Stats on Substance Abuse
In recent weeks, statistics about drug abuse in America have been released by a group of top academics. As a source for their findings, they used data previously provided by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The data was gathered in 2016. Here’s some interesting findings:
- The District of Columbia has the worst drug problem. They rank #1 for drug use and abuse per capita. Missouri is #2, followed by New Hampshire, Michigan and West Virginia
- Missouri, which ranks #2, has the largest amount law enforcement resources dedicated to fighting drug issues.
- The states of Alaska and Rhode Island have the highest percentage of teenage drug users.
- Vermont and Alaska have the highest percentage of adult drug users
- Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee have the most active opioid prescriptions per 100 residents. Painkiller abuse has reached epidemic status in the past couple of years.
- The title for “most drug-related arrests per capita” goes to South Dakota with Wyoming close on its heels.
- Rhode Island, Alaska and Oregon hold the top three places for states with the most residents per capita who are not being treated for a drug addiction.
- Texas, Nevada and the District of Columbia have the fewest drug treatment centers per 100,000 known drug users within the state.
- Connecticut, Iowa and New York have the most people receiving addiction treatment per 100,000 known drug users.
- In 2016, Opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths. That’s just opioids. It doesn’t include alcohol or any other illicit substances.
- West Virginia (52.0 per 100,000 residents), Ohio (39.1 per 100,000), New Hampshire (39.0 per 100,000) had the highest death toll related to drugs.
Stats on Alcohol Abuse
Not to be outdone, alcohol causes enough of its own problems in a country where adults love to drink alcohol. The following information pertains to 2016. It was provided by the USA Today from a survey completed by the Wall Street Journal, using data from a CDC study.
- North Dakota ranked #1 with 24.7% o the state’s adults admitting to excessive drinking. Wisconsin was #2 at 24.5% while Alaska came in at #3 with 22.1 problem drinking adults.
- According to the CDC, “heavy drinking is defined as at least eight drinks per week for women and 15 for men,” slightly less for women.
- North Dakota also ranked #1 in alcohol related driving deaths (46.7%) as a percentage of all driving deaths. Montana ranked #2 at 46.3%
- In 2010, excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $249 billion. That’s an average of almost $5 billion a state. $35 billion was spent in California alone.
- From 2006-2010, alcohol and alcohol abuse were directly responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths a year
The data provided above paints an ominous picture for the country in terms of fighting drug addiction and alcoholism. These issues are costing America both lives and money. So What’s the solution?The country has been involved a war against drugs since the Nixon administration to no avail. Some experts report there are as many as 200-300 different illicit drugs being sold across the nation. The main issues seem to be
- Doctors are too quick to prescribe pain medications and do very little to monitor patients for possible abuse
- Drug cartels continue to ship record amounts of cocaine and heroin into the country every year
- New designer drugs are popping up every week from amateur laboratories across the country
- There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive attempt to educate school-age children about the dangers of drugs and alcoholism
- Too many social issues in America