The COVID-19 pandemic put a heavy strain on the resources needed to address an already concerning substance abuse epidemic. To help find new solutions, researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse have started pouring more funds into the NDEWS network along with expanding data gathering efforts through established channels. Not only have the numbers of substance abuse cases and deaths risen, but so too has the cost substance abuse has on the economy. New information helps recovery organizations create more effective treatment plans and community programs to battle the spread of addiction.
The Importance of Comprehensive Data
Even while the pandemic saw an increase in substance use as a coping mechanism to deal with the uncertainty of COVID, efforts by NIDA and the NDEWS team have actually led to a decrease in illicit drug use in children 18 and under. This wouldn’t have been possible without decades’ worth of data used to spot emerging trends and create rapid responses through education and community outreach, highlighting just one demographic that benefits from these reports.
Creating more effective means to address substance abuse trends is also a cost saving measure given that an estimated $137 billion of annual health care expenses are caused by excessive drinking and drug use. When you include additional costs that result from crime and lost productivity stemming from substance abuse, the cost increases to $600 billion. With the right actions made based on research data, these funds can be put to use in other public sectors as treatment efforts improve over time.
A Snapshot of Substance Abuse Trends
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, or NCDAS, analyzes and compiles research from NIDA and the National Health Institute to give the public access to the current state of substance abuse. One of the key findings was that over 37 million Americans aged 12 or older had used drugs within the last 30 days as of 2020, a nearly 4% increase over the previous year.
The findings also indicate that young males are more susceptible to starting substance abuse at 22% compared to 17% found within the female population of the same age group. Drug overdose is the leading cause of death in those under the age of 45 further highlighting the impact it has on young adults. This group is still only part of the over 70,000 annual deaths caused by overdose in the United States with overall life expectancy actually dropping between 2015 and 2017 as a result of the opioid epidemic.
If you currently use drugs or are around those that do, you should know the signs of overdose in order to find help for a friend or loved one. The most common signs are:
- Loss of consciousness
- Cold sweats and clammy skin
- Bluish hue to the skin caused by poor circulation
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Shrunken or pinpoint pupils
Following up on an overdose with the proper addiction treatment is the best course of action to help the individual avoid future scares.
Find Success in Your Rehab Program
America’s Rehab Campus has helped thousands of addicted individuals find sobriety through recovery while also making efforts to raise awareness in the local Arizona community. With resort-style accommodations and state-of-the-art facilities, ARC is changing what it means to go to rehab for drugs or alcohol in Phoenix. Learn more about the treatment plans we offer or directly contact an intake specialist to start the process of taking your life back from the hold of addiction.