Some Sobering Statististics

Some Sobering Statististics


Substance Abuse Facts

Millions of Americans are in Denial About Their Own Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Results of the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reveal that, while millions of Americans habitually smoke pot, drink alcohol, snort cocaine and swallow prescription drugs, too many drug users who meet the criteria for needing treatment do not recognize that they have a problem. The figure of those “in denial” is estimated at more than 4.6 million–a significantly higher number of individuals in need of professional help than had previously been thought.

According to the results of the survey, of the 5.0 million people who needed but did not receive treatment in 2001, an estimated 377,000 reported that they felt they needed treatment for their drug problem. This includes an estimated 101,000 who reported that they made an effort but were unable to get treatment and 276,000 who reported making no effort to get treatment.
“We have a large and growing denial gap when it comes to drug abuse and dependency in this country,” said John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “We have a responsibility–as family members, employers, physicians, educators, religious leaders, neighbors, colleagues, and friends–to reach out to help these people. We must find ways to lead them back to drug free lives. And the earlier we reach them, the greater will be our likelihood of success.”
70,000 Participated in the Nationwide Survey

70,000 people, aged 12 and older, participated in the nationwide survey and were asked questions concerning run-ins with the law, drunken driving, difficulties at school or work, as well as details of their drug use. Many users who said they’d encountered trouble in most areas still believed they were in control of their habit.
Overall, the Household Survey found that 15.9 million Americans age 12 and older used an illicit drug in the month immediately prior to the survey interview. This represents an estimated 7.1 percent of the population in 2001, compared to an estimated 6.3 percent the previous year.
The survey’s results reveal that 10.8 percent of youths age 12 to 17 were current drug users in 2001 compared with 9.7 percent in 2000. (On a positive note, youth cigarette use in 2001 was slightly below the rate for 2000, continuing a downward trend since 1999.)
Among young adults age 18 to 25, current drug use increased between 2000 and 2001 from 15.9 percent to 18.8 percent. There were no statistically significant changes in the rates of drug use among adults age 26 and older.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Charles G. Curie emphasized that, “Behind these numbers are real children and adults impacted by drug use. We must refuse to give up on people who have handed over their aspirations and their futures to drug use. People need to know help is available, treatment is effective and recovery is possible.” Curie added that the prevalence of drug use and abuse is partly due to a drop in the amount of people who see certain substances, such as marijuana, as harmful.