Drug Addiction High Among Nation’s Population

Drug Addiction High Among Nation’s Population

Drug addiction has long been a problem in this country, but many people tend to assume it is a problem outside of their social circles. According to industry statistics however, nearly every person knows someone who is a drug addict if they know at least five people.

A recent report showed 21.1 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have alcohol or other drug problems serious enough to demand treatment for addiction. In addition, the number of drug addicts needing but not receiving treatment is nearing 91 percent. These findings are from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Joseph A. Califano, Jr., the former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare noted, “Under any circumstances, spending more than 95 percent of taxpayer dollars on the crime, health care costs, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and other consequences of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction, and only two percent to relieve individuals and taxpayers of these burdens, is a reckless misallocation of public funds. In these economic times, such upside-down-cake public policy is unconscionable it’s past time for this fiscal and human waste to end.”

Traditionally, addicts have been associated with property crimes resulting from the consistent need to fund their addiction. The main means of controlling the problem was to incarcerate these individuals, instead of providing treatment for the root cause of the problem. In fact, it never even entered the conversation.

Now, as incarcerated addicts are also being treated for their drug problem, more than half of these individuals do not commit new crimes as a result of the treatment and aftercare programs. By contrast, most prisoners who serve mandatory sentences and get no treatment commit new crimes and start using drugs or alcohol soon after their release back into the community.


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