The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health was recently released by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It highlights the numbers of people in the U.S. who used various kinds of legal and illegal substances and shows some current trends in substance use, addiction and treatment.
Smoking and Drinking
According to the study, nearly 49 million Americans smoked cigarettes at least sometimes, and nearly 28 million smoked daily. Despite these numbers, cigarette use overall continued to decline in all age groups.
More than 140 million Americans consume alcohol, and of these, close to 67 million reported binge drinking within the past month. Nearly 17 million were classified as “heavy drinkers.” More than seven million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 reported drinking in the last month, or about one in five young people in this age group. About one in eight said they binge drank in the previous month. While the number of underage drinkers had declined between 2002 and 2014, the current numbers were similar to 2015 and 2016.
Illicit Drug Use
As for drug misuse, 30.5 million Americans over age 11 used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. This is about 11 percent of the U.S. population or one in nine in that age group. One in four Americans aged 18 to 25 said they used drugs in the last 30 days. Of the total number who used drugs, more than 29 million misused either marijuana (26 million) or misused (opioid) prescription painkillers. Both marijuana misuse and opioid addiction increased from previous studies.
Substance Use Disorder
Close to 20 million Americans were diagnosed with a substance use disorder in 2017, with 14 million having an alcohol use disorder and over seven million related to drug addiction. About four million of these were marijuana-related, two million were opioid-related, and the rest were related to other drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs.
In 2017, about 21 million people needed treatment for a substance use disorder, or about one in 13 people ages 12 and older. Among those ages 18 to 25, about one in seven needed treatment. Unfortunately, less than a quarter of those needing treatment got it, or about four million, according to the study.
Many state and local governments have responded to the opioid crisis by allotting more money to help people get treatment for all kinds of substance use disorders, hoping to begin to bridge the gap between those that need treatment and those that get it. Other initiatives have included student loan forgiveness for substance abuse counselors and grant programs for those who decide to become counselors.
If you or any of your loved ones are in need of treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs, the good news is that help is available to you. For more information about your SUD treatment options, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake.