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The State of Substance Abuse in The US

To coincide with national recovery month the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA released a report on the breadth of substance abuse and mental illness in United States. The report shows both some alarming statistics as well as some encouraging ones, Including:

  • 6 million Americans 12 and older are current drug users (9.4% of the population in this age group)
  • 5 million Americans 12 and older currently abuse prescription drugs, 1.5 million cocaine, 595,000 methamphetamine and 289,000 heroin

One of the most shocking statistics is that an estimated 22.7 million people aged 12 or older in United States need treatment for substance abuse or addiction. However only 2.5 million of those people received treatment at an appropriate facility. The fact that approximately 90% of those needing treatment have not received it is could be a very discouraging statistic. However, we see it as an opportunity to spread the word about election treatment. The only way that we can address this gap in treatment, it is by working with both addicts and their families alike to stamp out the stigma associated with addiction treatment. You must also educate the public at large, as well as authorities in various administrative positions to be on the lookout for substance abuse and to understand that appropriate treatment is necessary for those who may be at higher risk of addiction.

On the mental health front, there are more positive statistics. According to SAMHSA, over 34 million adults aged 18 or older received appropriate treatment for mental health disorders. They estimate that approximately 19% of population, which translates to approximately 43.8 million adults, had some sort mental illness in 2013. Of those with mental illness, 10 million had a serious mental illness in the past 12 months. Of course, mental illness is somewhat harder to detect, since no blood or urine test can tell a counselor if someone is depressed, for example. Further, there are forms of mental illness that maybe milder or more significant. Milder depression and anxiety is often left untreated and underreported.

The SAMHSA study sheds light on the current state of the problem of substance abuse and mental illness in United States. It also lays a foundation for how we can begin to fight the problems we face in both, interconnected spheres.

Read more on SAMHSA’s website: https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/201409040930