The Growth of Substance Abuse in the United States

header curve background image

The Growth of Substance Abuse in the United States

United StatesSubstance abuse is a problem that impacts every state. Substance abuse in the United States has changed and grown over the years. Statistical reports from the state have shown that drug and alcohol abuse is getting worse as more men, women, and teenagers abuse legal and illicit substances.

Why is Substance Abuse in the United States Increasing?

Substance abuse within the state of Michigan is higher than the national average. Roughly 9 percent of the state population is abusing illicit substances, which is 1 percent higher than the national average. Although it might not seem like a significant portion of the population, it can impact the lives of every individual within the state.

The high rate of substance abuse within the state means that crimes related to drugs or alcohol are on the rise. The disturbing trend of increasing addiction rates only adds to the concerns because more men, women, and teenagers are facing problems with addiction.

The overall rate of substance abuse over the years is only one aspect that is concerning within the state. The rate of illicit drug usage over the course of a month is high enough to show a disturbing trend.

Roughly 3.5 percent of the state population has reported illicit drug abuse within a one month period.

Those drugs that were abused do not include marijuana, which is the most commonly abused illicit substance within the state.

Due to the high averages, it is not surprising that the state is trying to find realistic solutions to fight against addiction. Even though the standards are high, it is likely that the rate of substance abuse will continue to rise as the latest data suggests that the state is seeing an upward trend in illicit drug abuse.

Commonly Abused Drugs in the United States

Although substance abuse is not limited to a particular drug, certain substances are more common within the state of Michigan.

The drugs that are commonly abused include:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Prescription Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Methamphetamine

Although marijuana is the most commonly abused substance in the state, it is followed closely by heroin and other opiates. Alcohol is also often abused and has shown an increased rate of abuse from 2005.

Meth LabWhile methamphetamine drugs are not the most commonly abused substances within the state of Michigan, the number of labs creating the substances are increasing.

The number of labs that have been shut down by police has increased by 290 percent, which suggests that the drug is more readily available and might create problems in the future.

Availability Reason for Abuse

The growth of substance abuse in the United States has brought up reasons that residents are abusing the drugs.

Substance AbuseA key reason for the increased rate of drug and alcohol abuse is the availability of the substances.

Alcohol has always been readily available, and adults over the age of 21 can legally purchase the substance. The easy availability makes it possible for adults to abuse the substance and makes it easy for teenagers to acquire the drinks by asking older friends or stealing from adults.

While alcohol is relatively easy to obtain, the state continues to have a problem with opiate addictions and marijuana abuse. As illicit substances, marijuana and heroin should not be readily available. Unfortunately, the growth of marijuana and heroin abuse suggests that the drugs are accessible within the state.

The abuse of prescription opiate medications, which is an area of growth in drug addiction, is not always purposeful. Opioid medications are provided by medical doctors for legitimate reasons. The feeling of pain after an injury or a chronic medical condition can result in a prescription for the drug.

Although the prescription is often legitimate, it makes the drug easy to obtain. Individuals who are not prescribed the drug can find opiates in a place of storage for those who are given the medication for legitimate reasons. In some cases, the drug is abused when it is taken in a way that deviates from the instructions of a medical professional.

Regardless of the situation, the availability of medication and alcohol plays a role in the growth of substance abuse in the United States.

AlcoholThe drugs that are most commonly abused are the substances that are easiest to find, either through legal or illegal means.

Fighting Stress

Substance abuse is a complicated problem and addiction develops for a broad range of reasons.

In the state of Michigan, the rise of substance abuse has occurred at a similar rate as the high unemployment rate and economic challenges within the state. The increased substance abuse in the United States began when the state was struggling to recover from the recession and was not making significant inroads into the process of recovering from the problem.

A potential reason for substance abuse is a high-stress level or challenging emotional problems. When the state is struggling economically, and jobs are limited, it is not surprising that some individuals might turn to drugs, alcohol or a combination of substances to relieve some of the emotional turmoil.

Emotional PainWhen substances are used for stress relief or to help reduce emotional pain, it only makes the situation worse. The drugs can alter the way the mind can handle stressful situations and makes even small challenges seem insurmountable. When the smallest challenges cause a certainty that hope is not possible, it becomes tempting to abuse drugs or alcohol to forget about those problems.

The challenges within the state partially contribute to the growing problem. When the state is struggling economically, budget cuts can reduce the ability of preventive programs from working effectively.

State-Wide Efforts to Reduce Drug Abuse Rates

As reports and statistical facts showed that residents of the state were increasingly turning to substance abuse as a solution, measures were taken to help reduce those rates. Although the state is still in recovery from economic challenges, the action plan set forth by the White House has provided the opportunity to take action.

A major method of reducing the availability of prescription opiates and similar drugs is the state take-back program. The state offers secure ways to get rid of unneeded medications after an injury or illness has healed. Since the prescriptions are no longer in the house, it is not tempting to those who are in the house.

The drugs are less likely to be stolen or misused if they are properly disposed of after they are no longer needed.

The police have taken measures to close down methamphetamine labs, which also help to reduce the rate of substance abuse in the United States. Illicit substances are not as readily available when the police find and eliminate the labs that are creating synthetic drugs.

Prescription drug monitoring is another way that the state is working to reduce the rate of substance abuse. The program helps track prescriptions that are dispensed by medical professionals so that only the patient can obtain the medications and only for legitimate reasons. It monitors the actions of medical professionals as well as the reasons for providing controlled substances.

United States Drug AbuseSubstance abuse in the United States was on the rise but the state is taking measures to reduce the rates and get the situation back under control. Despite the figures, there is hope that the state will see improvements in the future.