Despite nearly 25 million people in the United States, 12 or older, needing treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, only 2.5 million actually received treatment. This alarming statistic shows that the focus needs to remain on education, prevention and treatment when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse, especially among teenagers.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report recently stating that almost ten percent of Americans, 12 and older, had abused drugs in 2013. Of those abuse drugs, 20 million people admit to using marijuana. This makes marijuana the most abused drug in our country. With two states making the drug legal, it is now easier to obtain and more accepted. However, there are studies being done that look into the health risks of marijuana, especially the risks that the drug poses to children. Surprisingly, there is not a lot of information regarding the health consequences of marijuana on the growing brain, an oversight that many researchers are looking to correct.
Being that September is National Recovery month, it is only appropriate to look at these statistics and wonder how more people can be helped. Drug abuse is an epidemic in this country, but the epidemic has a cure – effective addiction treatment and prevention.
“Throughout our nation thousands still needlessly suffer the ravages of untreated substance use and mental disorders. We must reach out to all people with unmet need so that they can return to lives full of hope, well-being and fulfillment,” commented SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde.
While adults continue to abuse drugs at an alarming rate, the amount of children abusing drugs is most concerning. With statistics such as 4.5 million people in this country aged 12 and older reported that they abused prescription medication in the past month, and 1.5 million people over the age of 12 admit that they are current cocaine abusers, hopefully more people will reach for help as a result of Recovery Month activities.