Facts About Drug Abuse
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Facts about Drug Abuse

Facts About Drug AbuseFacts about drug abuse report that one in four US deaths can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use. Tobacco users run the biggest risk of harm, since the majority of those deaths—430,700 annually—are associated with smoking. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 100,000 deaths annually. 16,000 deaths annually are due to illicit drug use, but this estimate is likely to be conservative as substance abuse is indirectly associated with deaths from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, homicides, and other violent crimes and incidental injuries.

Additional facts about drug abuse show the economic consequences of this serious problem. The economic burden of substance abuse to the US economy is estimated at a staggering $414 billion annually. Alcohol abuse alone costs nearly $166 billion each year. Illicit drug users make over 527,000 costly emergency room visits each year for drug related problems. One dollar out of every $14 of the nation’s health care bill is spent to treat those suffering from smoking-related illnesses. Health care costs for employees with alcohol abuse problems cost nearly twice as much as those of other employees.

Facts about drug abuse revel that drug offenders account for more than one-third of the growth in the state prison population and more than 80 percent of the increase in the number of federal prison inmates since 1985. More than 75 percent of domestic violence victims report that their assailant had been drinking or using illicit drugs at the time of the incident.

Substance abuse tends to be more common among certain occupations and industries. Heavy alcohol and illicit drug use is highest among construction and food service workers. Auto mechanics, laborers, and light-truck drivers are among several populations that are more susceptible to alcohol abuse.

Also, facts about drug abuse show that children from families with substance-abusing parents are more likely to have problems with delinquency, poor school performance, and emotional difficulties than their peers from homes without substance abuse. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop ear infections and asthma and to miss one-third more school days than their peers who live in smoke-free homes.

  • By eighth grade, 52 percent of teenagers have consumed alcohol, 41 percent have smoked cigarettes, and 20 percent have used marijuana.
  • 33 million Americans—29 percent of all current alcohol users—are binge drinkers, meaning they consume five or more drinks on a single occasion.
  • Men are four times more likely to be heavy drinkers and 1.3 times more likely to smoke a pack of cigarettes or more a day. Men are also twice as likely to engage in regular marijuana use.
  • Heroin and cocaine account for about 70 percent of all drug cases.

Facts about Drug Abuse: Effect of Drug Abuse on Various Populations

  • Compared to the total population, alcohol-related motor vehicle fatality rates are particularly high for Native Americans.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives have higher death rates for cirrhosis of the liver relative to the total population.
  • Alcohol mortality rates are highest for African-American men, even though alcohol use tends to be more moderate for African Americans than for whites or Hispanics.
  • African Americans are more likely to report using illegal drugs on a weekly basis than any other ethnic group.
  • Hispanics are most likely to engage in heavy alcohol use, followed by whites and African Americans.
  • Among smokers, whites smoke more cigarettes per day than any other racial or ethnic group. They are also more likely to smoke on a daily basis.
  • Among high school seniors, 36% of whites are heavy alcohol users compared to 29% of Hispanics and 12% of African Americans.
  • Surveys indicate that six to eleven percent of elderly patients admitted to hospitals exhibit symptoms of alcoholism as do 20% of elderly patients in psychiatric wards and 14% of elderly patients in emergency rooms.
  • The prevalence of problem drinking in nursing homes is as high as 49% in some studies. Late onset alcohol problems also occur in some retirement communities, where drinking at social gatherings is often the norm.
  • For American women age 60 and over, substance abuse and addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, and psychoactive prescription drugs are at epidemic levels. One report found that women over 59 are susceptible to abuse and addiction to these substances because they get addicted faster when using smaller amounts than any other group.

Facts About Drug Abuse
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