With National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week kicking off today, it’s important to realize just how important awareness of the issue is. During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, scientists and experts focus on educating teens. But, it’s also important to educate patients. You most likely come across plenty of cases that drugs or alcohol have played a part in. This is the time to educate patients and to back up your advice with solid facts and statistics. Addiction plagues millions of people every day. It’s important to provide not just medical help, but the knowledge and education as well. Below are a few drug and alcohol facts your patients should know!
Drug and Alcohol Facts Your Patients Should Know
Substance Abuse Costs $137 Billion Per Year
When it comes to drug and alcohol facts, this one is startling. The abuse of tobacco, alcohol, prescription, and illicit drugs is economically taxing to the United States, annually costing approximately $137 billion in direct health care expenses. Cost estimates that include crime and lost work productivity balloon to over $600 billion dollars. This is the equivalent to 17.1% of the U.S. federal budget. Physicians treat drug-related issues on a daily basis, and these sessions certainly add up.
Addiction is a recognized condition involving the compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences. Drug abuse is the inappropriate use of substances – including alcohol, prescription medication, or illegal drugs – for purposes such as pleasure, to feel or perform better in certain situations, or to change one’s perception of reality.
While pharmaceutical companies may benefit, the patients and doctors will continue to suffer. With the growing opioid epidemic, especially in rural areas, health care staffs are struggling to meet the demand for care.
We’re Using Drugs More Often
In 2002, 13.0% of Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication in the past month. By 2012, that number had increased to 13.2% — an increase of over 4 million Americans. While it might not seem like an increase, these drug and alcohol facts show that drug use is increasing. However, part of this increase can be contributed to the relaxation of marijuana laws. As these laws continue to change, many experts will remain divided over whether or not the plant-based drug is harmful to those that choose to consume it. With the rise of opioids and prescriptions drugs, however, extremely dangerous drugs are becoming easier and easier to access every single day.
More People Die From Prescription Pills Than All Illegal Drugs Combined
Speaking of prescription painkillers, it’s important to know how serious this issue is. Annually, more people die from prescribed opioid pain relievers than all illegal drugs combined. Legal access, combined with a culture of implicitly trusting a doctor’s opinion, has led to a sharp increase in emergency medicine visits attributable to prescription drugs. These drug and alcohol facts highlight the important role physicians play in the opioid crisis. Nearly 4.6 million ER visits in the United States were related in some way to drugs in 2009. About half of those visits were caused by reactions to medications that were taken according to a doctor’s prescription and 45% (2.1 million) ER visits were related to the abuse of illicit substances.
Alcohol Poisoning Kills 6 People a Day
Let that sink in for a second. When it comes to drug and alcohol facts, this is a grisly one. Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were alcohol-related (Drug-Free World). While there’s been so much talk about the opioid crisis and other drugs, alcohol still remains a huge issue in the healthcare field. It’s clear though that alcohol use is responsible for a growing proportion of all visits to emergency rooms. This is concerning because it’s an expensive way to deal with over-drinking. Excess drinking costs an estimated $249 billion a year, according to a 2010 study.
If you have experience in dealing with drug or alcohol-related emergencies, feel free to tell your story below!