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Drug Addiction Facts

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Most people believe that drug addiction stems from someone that lacks morals or the willpower to say ‘no’ to using illicit substances. While the initial decision to take drugs is typically a voluntary one, drug addiction eventually does affect the way in which the brain works. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction is "a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her.” Following are some startling drug addition facts:

Huge Societal Costs

Drug addication costs the United States approximately $600 billion in lost productivity, health-related and crime-related costs each year. Of the $600 million, about $235 billion is a result from alcohol abuse, $193 billion for tobacco products and $193 billion for illicit drugs.

Early Deaths

The abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs contribute to approximately 100,000 deaths each year in the United States, while tobacco causes approximately 440,000 deaths annually.

Most Abused Products

According to a national survey, there were about 1.8 million admissions to treatment facilities for alcohol and drug abuse in 2008. Of these admissions, 41.2 percent involved alcohol, 20 percent involved heroin and other opiates, and 17 percent involved marijuana.

Not Everyone Receives Treatment That is Needed

About 23.5 million or 9.3 percent of people over the age of 12 required treatment for an alcohol or drug abuse problem in 2009. Only 2.6 million of these people that required treatment received it in a specialized treatment facility.

Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse