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Substance Abuse Facts and Usage Trends

Recovery Centers of America

Authored by Recovery Centers of America

With President Obama’s recent proposal of $1.1 billion of new funding to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemic the nation’s attention is being drawn towards the seriousness of our country’s heroin problems. With a 3.4-fold increase in overdose deaths from prescription opioid use and a 6-fold increase in heroin overdose deaths from 2001-2014, it is no wonder that this issue is beginning to catch attention. However, while there has been a drastic increase in the use of opioid drugs, there are a number of other important drug abuse facts and trends to pay attention to.

Drug Abuse Facts that Show Increased Usages

There are several other drugs, in addition to heroin, that have shown trends of increased usage in the last decade. Here are some drug abuse facts showing the changes in drug usage in recent years.

Marijuana: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse the use of marijuana has increased since 2007 from 14.5 million to 19.8 million in 2013. More than half of all new illicit drug users begin with marijuana. Following alcohol, marijuana has the second-highest rate of abuse or dependence among all drugs. In 2013, 4.2 million Americans were considered to be dependent on or abusing marijuana. This is more than twice the number for prescription painkillers.

Opioid Pain Relievers: From 2001-2013 the number of prescriptions for opioid drugs increased from 76 million to 207 million. From 2001-2014 the number of overdose deaths related to opioid painkiller usage has more than tripled.

Benzodiazepines: From 2001-2014 the number of overdose deaths from the abuse of benzodiazepines increased five-fold.

Decreased Drug Usages

While the increase of marijuana, heroin, and prescription medications has increased significantly and given reason for serious concern, there have also been several trends of decreased usage of certain drugs. Here are the drug abuse facts on the substances seeing a decrease in usage.

Tobacco: In 2002, 26% of Americans 12 or older used tobacco. Since then there has been a slow, continual decrease in usage. In 2013 the number of Americans who use tobacco was reduced to 21.3%. With teens, the decrease has occurred much more rapidly–from 13% in 2002 down to 5.6% in 2013.

Alcohol: The rate of alcohol abuse or dependence has decreased from 7.7% in 2002 to 6.6% in 2013. Underaged drinking decreased from 28.8 to 22.7%, binge drinking from 19.3 to 14.2%, and heavy drinking from 6.2 to 3.7%.

Cocaine: Cocaine hit peak usage and number of overdose deaths in 2006, since then there has been a decrease in usage. From 2002-2007 the number of users was as high as 2.4 million. In 2013 that number was down to 1.5 million.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a continuing problem for the United States. If you or a loved one are in need of treatment from one of our substance abuse treatment centers, Recovery Centers of America is a leader in providing neighborhood-based treatment for addiction recovery and community education. RCA offers numerous recovery programs and options for treatment. We serve as advocates to our patients. Our center provides their family and friends with training and support about how to be helpful during the recovery process.

If you would like more information regarding our programs or facilities, please contact us today at 1-800-RECOVERY.

Authored by

Recovery Centers of America

Recovery Centers of America



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