Since it is now a widely accepted fact that substance abuse is growing at an exponential rate in the United States, more and more studies are now being conducted in order to estimate the extent of the problem, and its various other qualities like which substance is abused the most, gender ratio of substance abuse, at what age are people most susceptible to substance abuse, harmful effects etc.
One such study was conducted recently, in which Dr. Joseph W Frank from Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston. He was the lead author and his work is available in the archives of Internal Medicine.
The Revelations Of The Study
The most important fact released by the study was that from 2001 to 2009, the number of people diagnosed by the doctors in the United States for substance abuse problems like drug or alcohol addiction increased by almost seventy percent. The study used information from two national surveys of doctor’s visits, and stated that the number of visits to the doctors for alcohol or drug addiction increased from about 10.6 million between 2001 and 2003 to about 18 million between 2007 and 2009. In the same period, the number of visits to the doctors specifically for prescription drug abuse increased almost six times i.e. from 772,000 between 2001 and 2003 to almost 4.4 million between 2007 and 2009.
The study estimated that the total number of people addicted to alcohol and drugs across the United States is about 22.5 million. As per the statistics revealed by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), around 14,800 people died in the United States in 2008 due to abuse of prescription opioids, and this figure was almost three times the number of deaths due to prescription opioids in the United States about 20 years earlier.
The most commonly observed reason for the growing substance abuse problem is that after the age of fifty, most people are used to having around 3 to 4 different opioids in a day due to age related health problems. As a result, they tend to get addicted to them unintentionally as well. Moreover, prescription drugs are very readily available at convenience stores across the country, and thus are very easy to procure even for the teenagers.
The Brighter Side Of The Story
Even though the facts and figures stated by the study paint a very gloomy picture of the current state of drug abuse in the United States, the researchers are seeing a positive side to it as well. This is due to the fact that the number of medicines prescribed for treating the problem of alcohol or drug abuse has also increased in the same proportion as the increase in the number of people visiting the doctors for alcohol or drug abuse problem. Mostly the medicines prescribed were methadone and buprenorphine, and it was observed that 643,000 people were prescribed these medicines between 2001 and 2003, the number increased to 3.9 million people between 2007 and 2009.
The most popular method of treating the substance abuse problem in the United States, however, has been the use of talk therapy. During the period of the study, about 25 million patients who reported alcohol or drug abuse problem were treated with talk therapy, though this figure has been more or less the same and has not changed substantially over time. Thus, according to the researchers of the study, the findings are both positive and negative, and as far as the treatment of substance abuse problem is concerned, the country is headed in the right direction.
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