Drug abuse in America effects people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, racial identities, financial status, job professions and educational levels. However, drug abuse in America affects some areas more than others. Poor neighborhoods plagued with gangs crime and violence are where many of the illegal drug markets flourish. Additionally, many Americans it these communities lack employment and health insurance plans and therefore are less able to afford drug treatment programs to overcome drug abuse problems. But, drug abuse also affects middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods in America and what all Americans must understand is that no one is immune from the consequences of drug abuse. We as Americans must make a commitment to reducing drug abuse and not mistakenly assume that societies' drug abuse problem is someone else’s concern.
The truth is that approximately 45 percent of Americans know someone with a substance abuse problem, however many Americans believe that drug abuse is not their problem. They have misconceptions that drug users belong to a segment of society different from their own or that drug abuse is remote from their environment. They are wrong. Almost three quarters of drug users are employed. Drug abuse and drug-related crime are among Americas’s most pressing social problems.
Despite tough anti-drug laws, the World Health Organization's survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, shows that the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug abuse in the world.
In the study, researchers surveyed more than 54,000 adults in the Americas (Colombia, Mexico, and the United States), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine), Middle East and Africa (Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa), Asia, (Japan, China) and Oceania (New Zealand).
The study concluded that drug abuse seems to be a feature of more affluent countries. The U.S., which has been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies, as well as (in many U.S. states), a higher minimum legal alcohol drinking age than many comparable developed countries.