Drug Addiction: Overview & Facts Drug abuse is now considered a major health crisis in this country. Compared with other chronic diseases, drug abuse costs the nation billions more: Diabetes costs society $131.7 billion annually Cancer costs society $171.6 billion annually Drug addiction costs society $484 billion annually (NIDA/ About Drug Abuse) The enormity of the problem is reflected in areas that include health, education, and criminal justice. Costs to society stem from: Health care (cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, pediatric AIDS) Traffic accidents Violent crimes Child abuse Homelessness Failure at school Performance in the workplace In 2009, an estimated 21.8 million Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users. That number is rising steadily as teens are succumbing to addiction from over the counter and prescription drugs. Sadly, the younger a person is when he or she uses drugs, the greater the chance of addiction. Older Americans are also at serious risk of becoming addicts as more and more medications are prescribed by a variety of treating doctors. Confusion about the drugs and mismanagement leads seniors down the path of addiction.
(information provided by NIDA)