A study by Columbia University revealed that there are more than 40 million Americans who are addicted to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, or a combination of substances. Surprisingly, the number is higher than people who are suffering from cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. The alarming situation is that 80 million people are substance users, which means they use any kind of substance and are putting their health at risk.

Increased Number of Deaths
According to the same report from Columbia University, over 20% of deaths in America are attributed to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. More than 38,000 people died in 2010 as a result of substance abuse. This death toll is even higher than the people who lost their lives in accidents, suicides, and homicides. The fastest going problem in the U.S. urban and rural settings is overdose deaths from Methadone, Percodan, and Oxycontin.

Lack of Treatment
As far back as 1956, the American Medical Association declared alcoholism as an illness that should be treated professionally. Later, in 1989, addiction involving other drugs, such as nicotine, was also defined as a disease. Unfortunately, there is still lack of proper care and treatment for all types of addiction.

The biggest evidence of Americans not paying heed to their substance abuse problems is that only one in ten addicted people seek proper treatment. In contrast, around 70% of people with conditions like hypertension and diabetes get professional assistance. In 2010, a cumulative $237.4 billion was spent to treat cancer, heart disease, and diabetes and a mere $28 billion to treat addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program developed in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, is one of the most commonly ascribed programs for addiction.
However, reports and studies between 1966 and 2005 have concluded that this treatment has not demonstrated the required effectiveness in treating alcohol abuse.

Cost of Addiction
Addiction and substance abuse are the one of the costliest problems facing the nation. The money is not only spent on buying the drugs, but a large amount also gets wasted on the consequences of drug addiction. According to research, 95.6 cents out of every dollar related to addiction goes to things like hospitalisation, the impact of crime, and car accidents. To avoid such unfavorable situations, more money needs to be spent on reducing the impact of substance abuse rather than just dedicated to other medical issues.

No Proper Medical Treatment
Even if the necessary capital is invested in the treatment of addiction issues, proper care and well-trained medical professionals is still lacking to a large degree. Providing adequate training and education in the area of addiction science can ensure that the funds for the treatment of addiction are used wisely.

As a country, we need to be more vigilant in treating people who are suffering from addiction. There are numerous ways out to help them that can save millions of individuals and their families from the tragedy of addiction. The American Addictions Centers are applying their best efforts to save those who are ready to start enjoying happy lives once again.

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This content is written by: Stephanie