Battling the Drug Epidemic

There’s no doubt that drug addiction is a problem in the United States. Drug and alcohol addiction affects up to 22 million people. Drug addiction includes those that are addicted to illegal drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, prescription medications such as sedatives and pain relievers and alcohol. With drugs being so prevalent in our society, some may think that it’s too big of a problem to tackle. So, is there anything we can do to combat drug addiction and help those already addicted? From drug prevention campaigns that began in the early 1980s to many options for those already addicted, we can work on lowering the statistics and attack the substance abuse epidemic in the United States.

Basic Information About Drug Abuse

Drug addiction is classified as a chronic disease. The addicted individual feels an uncontrollable desire to use drugs, even when they know the consequences will be negative ones. The person who tries their first drug may do so not realizing that it may become something they’re unable to stop. Their desire for drugs may overtake their desire for anything else. Drugs can essentially take over the user’s life. Drug addiction statistics can be sobering. Illicit drugs are big business in the United States with an estimated 100 Billion dollars spent annually. With that much money being spent, the number of drug users will also be high. It is estimated that approximately 960,000 people were addicted to cocaine in 2018. Heroin addictions were estimated to be around 650,000 people in 2018 and 1.7 million people were addicted to prescription drugs. Sadly, drug addiction can result in a loss of life. An estimated 67,000 died from drug overdoses in 2018.

Drug Abuse Treatments

As mentioned above, drug abuse is a major public health problem. Now that we know some numbers and how they have an impact socially and economically on the United States, let’s discuss how individuals can break the cycle and get on the road to recovery. It’s always a good idea to consult a physician when deciding to bring an end to drug use since the body can go through detoxification or withdrawal. There are numerous types of treatment and finding one that best suits the addict’s needs is key. There are several options for treatment: behavioral counseling, group therapy, self-help groups, rehabilitation centers, and medication. One of the most well-known forms of treatment is AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). There are over 12,000 Alcoholics Anonymous groups in the United States and an estimated 14,500 rehabilitation centers. When looking for a place to start treatment, those may be a great starting point for rehabilitation and support. If one style of treatment doesn’t seem to fit what the user needs or desires, there are more options out there. Keep searching until they find the one that fits their need the most. Don’t give up, there is help out there.

A Life of Recovery

After the addict has dealt with their addiction, their journey isn’t over. Staying sober may be an ongoing battle for many. However, this can be a time to rediscover who they are after addiction with the help of activities and programs. Surrounding themselves with positive influences can keep a former addict from returning to a life of drug abuse. Finding an aftercare group that can keep up the support can be essential in not relapsing. Drug addiction can take up all the user’s time and once they’ve stopped taking drugs, they may find they have much more time on their hands. It’s important to fill that time with something that won’t be a temptation. This could be a great time to discover a new hobby. Maybe there is something they’ve always wanted to try, like playing an instrument or painting, for instance. Now would be a great time to fill the hours once taken up by drug use, with a hobby.

Seeing drug statistics can be disheartening and overwhelming. However, with the growth of access to rehabilitation programs, those who are battling addiction may be able to find treatment much easier than they could have in the past. With dedication, a good support system and hard work, it is possible to beat drug addiction and live a drug-free life.

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