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Facts About Substance Abuse

Back to 2002 Curriculum. 

  • Addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing disease that is often progressive and fatal.

  • Impaired control, preoccupation, and use despite adverse consequences characterize substance dependence.

  • Substance abuse /dependence is a major public health problem in the U.S. with an estimated annual total cost to society of $245 billion.

  • In 1997, of 90,000 cases arrested through Central Booking in Baltimore City, over 80% had a positive drug screen.

  • The misuse of alcohol and drugs interferes with all areas of an individual's life, including physical and mental health, family, occupational, and social.

  • Young men are at greatest risk for developing substance use disorders.

  • Genetics influence an individual's risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. If one has a parent who is an alcoholic, he/she has a three times greater risk of being alcoholic.

  • Individuals with substance use disorders are at high risk for developing co-morbid medical and psychiatric syndromes.

  • Substance abusers are much more likely to attempt and successfully complete suicide.

  • Effective treatments exist for individuals with substance use disorders.

  • Compliance and treatment success rates are as good for addiction treatment as for other chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.