WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES

The problem

In 2017, 151,800 Americans died from drug- or alcohol-induced causes. That is 416 deaths per day, 17 per hour, and one person dying of a preventable cause every three and a half minutes. Projections say it will only get worse.

The Road Ahead

But there are solutions if we choose to act. A full-scale National Resilience Strategy can move us in the right direction.

Projections
1999
2005
2017
2025
All deaths since 1999
0
55
110

Snapshots of a Crisis

Life expectancy in the U.S. decreased for the last two years for the first time in two decades – and the increase in drug and alcohol deaths are three major factors. These trends are a wake-up call that there is a serious crisis in this country. They are signals of grave underlying concerns facing too many Americans – about pain, despair, disconnection and lack of opportunity – and the urgent need to address them.

1.6 Million

If trends continue, 1.6 million more people could die from the preventable causes of drugs and alcohol by 2025.

6,000  

Over 6,000 veterans die from suicide annually.

2x  

Over the past decade, the drug death rate among young adults 18-34 years old has more than doubled.

1 IN 10 

Only about one in 10 people with substance use disorders receive recommended treatment.

A National Resilience Strategy: How to Save Lives

We need a National Resilience Strategy that takes a comprehensive approach – including prevention, early identification of issues and effective treatment. Band-Aid interventions are not enough. The Pain in the Nation report highlights more than 60 research-based policies, practices and programs to reduce substance use, alcohol misuse – and promote better well-being for all Americans.

Attack the Crises

Expand and scale up evidence-based efforts to deploy a full scale strategy against opioids, excessive alcohol use, and rising death rates.

Bolster supports

Prioritize prevention, reduce risk factors and promote resilience in children, families and communities.

Identify early

Enhance programs that identify early warning signs, and connect people to the services they need.

Enhance treatment

Improve pain management and treatment, and modernize mental health and substance abuse services, to focus on individuals' whole health.

SUBSTANCE USE AND ADDICTION: NEGATIVE EFFECTS, OVERDOSE DEATH, DEATH CORRELATION, AND WHERE TO SEEK HELP

The available alcohol and drug statistics in the USA among women, college students, and young individuals prove that the issue needs quicker and more efficient addressing. According to SAMHSA or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, some of the most commonly abused illicit or recreational drugs include cocaine, opioid (especially heroin), inhalants, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

ALCOHOL AND DRUG STATISTICS IN THE US AMONG WOMEN, COLLEGE STUDENTS, AND THE YOUTH

Knowing the prevalence of illicit drug and alcohol use is important since it will almost always lead to addiction and sometimes, unexplained death.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

From the given data above, alcohol and marijuana are the most commonly used among all the age groups surveyed. Do note that these are incomplete alcohol and drug facts because the survey has been halted due to the CoVID-19 pandemic. That means the percentage might be higher than reported.

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Statista

Similar to the American youth, alcohol and marijuana use top the chart based on the alcohol and marijuana statistics gathered in several colleges surveyed from January to December 2019.

Source: CDC and Statista

The graph above shows that from January to December 2019, American women ages 18 to 44 commonly use alcohol and marijuana. The data include pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Approximate Number of Deaths

Source: CDC’s Provisional Data

Brain and Mental Health Effects of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

There have already been lots of proofs on the negative brain changes and mental health effects of the commonly abused substances. Below is a summary of the most prevalent negative brain and health effects of marijuana, opioid, cocaine, inhalants, MDMA, methamphetamine, and alcohol.

Substances Brain Changes Mental Health Effects
Alcohol

Problems with:

Cerebral Cortex: Decline in decision-making and problem-solving skills
Cerebellum: Non-coordinated movement
Hippocampus: Reduced memory and cognitive skills
Depression
Anxiety
Stress
Cocaine
Gray matter loss
Increased and uncontrollable dopamine production
Paranoia
Violent behavior
Inhalants
Slow or halted brain maturity
Decreased cognitive function
Anxiety
Depression
Personality disorders
Self-harm
Marijuana
Irreversible IQ loss
Smaller gray matter
Anxiety
Panic attacks
Psychosis
MDMA (Molly and Ecstacy)
Decreased memory
Distorted time and sensory perception
Brain inflammation
Brain damage
Anxiety
Confusion
Depression
Paranoia
Personality changes
Methamphetamine
Increased and uncontrollable dopamine production
Diffused brain damage
Decrease brain cells
Brain cell death
Anxiety
Confusion
Paranoia
Opioid
Front brain impairment
Coma
Confusion

Drug Abuse and Death Correlation

Although suicidal tendencies or ideation have several causes or triggering factors, substance abuse facts gathered from a study showed a good correlation between the two. Specifically, those with suicidal thoughts have commonly reported substance abuse or addiction.

Drug Abuse and Addiction Prolonged Depressive Episodes and Severe Depression Increases Suicidal Thoughts and Attempts

90%

A huge percentage of those who attempt or think of suicide have substance abuse, depression, or both

6x

Substance abuse sufferers are six times more likely to have suicidal attempts

June 2019 to May 2020 Death Statistics on Drugs Abuse

Apart from a suicide attempt or ideation, one of the worst risks of drug addiction is death due to overdose. The data on how many people die from a drug overdose in the US increased in the past 10 years. For the period between June 2019 and May 2020, the data provided by CDC are as follows:

.

81,230

More Than 81,000 Total Drug Overdose Deaths

38.4%

Synthetic Opioid Has the Highest Increase

37 Out of 38

A High Number of Jurisdictions Reported Increase in Synthetic Opioid Overdose Death

>50% 18 of 38

Jurisdictions Reported Above 50% Increase in Synthetic Opioid Overdose Death

>26.5%

Increase in Cocaine Overdose Death

>34.8%

Increase in Psychostimulant Overdose Death

Substance Addiction Treatment Centers

The table below shows five of the top substance treatment centers that offer inpatient and outpatient services in the US.

Treatment Center Locations Website
Hazelden Betty Ford
California
Chicago
Colorado
Florida
Massachusetts
Minnesota
New York
Oregon
Washington
https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/
JourneyPure
Florida
Kentucky
Tennessee
https://journeypure.com/
Recovery Unplugged
Florida
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
https://www.recoveryunplugged.com/
Riverwalk Ranch
Texas
https://riverwalkranch.com/
The Caron Foundation
Florida
Pennsylvania
Texas
https://www.caron.org/

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Definitely, there are marijuana health risks but it’s also known for managing certain conditions. That’s one of the reasons it has been legalized not just in most states in the US but also in other countries.

As being one of the best recreational drugs with pharmacological value, here’s a list of when medical cannabis is commonly prescribed:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
  • Appetite loss
  • Anorexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Seizure
  • Vomiting

Pain in the Nation

Map values for states (through 2017) based on actual values for 1999, 2005, 2015, 2017.

Map projections (2018 through 2025) reflect recent trends in death rates by cause. The report from which these data derive provided several sets of projections, based on assumptions from optimistic (deaths for all causes increase at rates equal to the slowest recent increase by a specific cause) to very pessimistic (deaths for all causes increase at rates equal to the fastest recent increase by specific cause). The map presents data based on baseline assumptions. Note that, nationally, actual deaths in 2016 exceeded deaths projected by the very pessimistic assumptions.

For more information about the report, please contact Rhea Farberman, or Albert Lang, .