According to the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) initiative, approximately 23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. These 23.5 million are people we see and interact with every day. Only 1 in 10 of those addicted receives the treatment they need. This results in a treatment gap of over 20 million people.
The World Health Organization estimates the global burden of disease related to alcohol and drug issues to be 5.4 percent worldwide.
The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 1 in 12 American adolescents suffered from a substance abuse problem. This equates to about 1.3 millions teens. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that about 700,000 American youths between the ages of 12 and 17 faught an alcohol use disorder.
AARP reported in 2015 that heroin addictions among young adults from 18 to 25 years old has doubled in the past 10 years.
Approximately 14.5 million adults 26 years old or older suffered from a substance abuse disorder in 2014, and an estimated 15 percent of elderly individuals may suffer from substance abuse and addiction.
These people are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. They are teachers, accountants, lawyers and mailmen. They may even be you.
Addiction touches everyone, whether it is up close and personal or someone you have met in passing. It does not discriminate and it does not care who you are, what you look like or your financial status. Whether you are struggling with addiction, or you have seen someone else go through it, we have to face the fact that we are all affected in some way.
Addiction is defined as a disease. Until we all start to see it that way, we will never come up with a solution. Through the eyes of the recovering addicts, families, friends and community members, we can see first-hand the impact this disease has on the people of our country. It is through these stories that we hope to touch the hearts of Americans and have an impact that will evoke change.
Written by: Katie Muska