Addiction has grown into a major problem in the United States, with millions upon millions of people struggling with this problem.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are more than 23 million people, age 12 or older, who required treatment for alcohol or drug abuse in 2009. This works out to approximately nine percent of all people in this age group.
Note: of these people, only 11.2 percent, or roughly 2.6 million people, received treatment at a specialized facility.
Cost of Substance Abuse
Now that you have a better understanding of how widespread this problem has become, it is important to realize the economic impact it has on the nation as a whole. Drug and alcohol use in the United States costs the country billions of dollars every year.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco cost the nation more than $600 billion every year in costs related to healthcare, lost work productivity, and crime. Here is a breakdown of each substance:
- Tobacco: overall cost of $193 billion, $96 billion related to health care
- Alcohol: overall cost of $235 billion, $30 billion related to health care
- Illegal drugs: overall cost of $193 billion, $11 billion related to health care
Overdose Death Statistics
In some cases, an addiction can be treated before it turns fatal. In other situations, the person abusing the substance is not as fortunate.
Overdose deaths are most often tied to prescription and illegal drugs. Here are some eye opening statistics shared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- From 2001 to 2011 there was a 3x increase in the total number of deaths by prescription drug overdose.
- From 2001 to 2011 there was a 22 percent increase in the number of cocaine related deaths.
- 2001 to 2011 there was a 2x increase in the total number of deaths by heroin overdose.
While it is not nearly as common to overdose on alcohol as it is a prescription or illicit drug, it doesn’t mean this substance is not dangerous. These statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism prove that:
- In 2012, nearly 88 percent of people age 18 or older reported drinking alcohol at some point of their life. Furthermore, 71 percent reported having a drink in the last year.
- Every year, approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes.
How Florida Compares
Substance abuse and addiction remains a large problem throughout the United States, with many studies backing up this claim.
The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, for example, noted the following:
- In 2010 alone, approximately 22.6 million Americans, age 12 or older, were using some type of illicit drug. This works out to almost nine percent of the population at the time of the study.
- The rate of drug use in 2010 was slightly higher than 2009, at 8.9 percent vs. 8.7 percent. However, it was much greater than in 2008, when the rate was 8 percent.
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, with 17.4 million users. Furthermore, between the years of 2007 and 2010, the rate of use increased to 6.9 percent from 5.8.
These statistics prove that substance abuse and addiction is a growing problem.
There are people in every state throughout the country who are addicted to drugs. However, bigger states, such as Florida, often times have a larger number of users.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) compiles state statistics on drug use and addiction, sharing the following stats for Florida:
- Approximately eight percent of Florida residents reported past month use of an illicit drug. Eight percent is a large number, however, this is on par with the national average, which also sits at eight percent.
- The number of drug induced deaths in Florida is greater than the national average.
- 3.5 percent of residents reported using a drug other than marijuana in the past month, which is lower than the national average of 3.58 percent.
For a better idea of where Florida stands when compared to the rest of the country, let’s compare the Sunshine State to New Jersey. Here are some critical statistics out of this northeastern state, also shared by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
- Approximately six percent of New Jersey residents reported past month use of an illicit drug. This is two percent lower than the national average (as well as the state of Florida).
- The number of drug induced deaths in New Jersey is lower than the national average.
- Heroin is the most commonly used drug among those who are admitted to a drug treatment facility in New Jersey.
By comparing Florida to New Jersey, a few things stick out. First and foremost, a greater percentage of Florida residents are using drugs. Additionally, drug induced deaths are higher than the national average in Florida, while New Jersey is faring better in this area.
Substance abuse is not a problem that targets a few states. Instead, it is a nationwide epidemic that kills thousands of people every year. It is also an expensive problem, costing the nation more than $600 billion every year.
Florida is dealing with a serious substance abuse problem, as noted by the statistics above, with many other states in the same boat.