America Is in the Midst of an Addiction Epidemic — And It’s Getting Worse

More than 23 million Americans — one in ten people over the age of 12 — are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Drug use continues to rise across the country, with no end in sight. Some states are harder hit than others, and many could do more to help curb drug and alcohol abuse — and substance-related deaths — among their citizenry.

Wondering how severe the addiction problem is in your state? Use our interactive infographic to find statistics for abuse of alcohol, painkillers, illegal drugs, cocaine and marijuana in each of the 50 states and in the nation as a whole. Just click on a state to see its stats and find out what substance causes the biggest problems for its citizens.

Prescription Drug Epidemic Goes Unabated

As you’ll see when you peruse the infographic, the prescription drug epidemic that has gripped our country for years still rages on. Fifty Americans die from prescription drug overdoses every day. Rates of prescription drug overdose and death have doubled in many states since 1999. To make matters worse, many teens — and their parents — think prescription drugs are perfectly safe to use or misuse because they come from a pharmacy rather than a street dealer.

Heroin and Marijuana Use Increasing

The latest surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have shown increases in use of marijuana and heroin among Americans 12 and older. Marijuana has been, and continues to be, the most commonly used illicit drug throughout the nation. Twenty states have legalized medical marijuana and two states, Colorado and Washington, now allow recreational use of the drug.

Perhaps more alarming, heroin use has increased significantly, almost doubling since 2007. Authorities believe that the sharp increase in heroin use is linked to the prescription painkiller epidemic. The painkillers responsible for addiction — drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin — are also opiate drugs. As law enforcement has successfully worked to restrict access to these pills, many addicts have turned to heroin, which is now much cheaper and easier to get.

More Young People Are Using Ecstasy

A recent spate of ecstasy-related deaths in the Northeast has brought the club drug back into the limelight; statistics show that its use among young people is increasing. ER visits related to the use of Ecstasy rose 128 percent between 2005 and 2011. Authorities warn that the drug can cause a host of dangerous physiological responses, and that modern powdered forms of MDMA may not be pure.

Drug use is on the rise throughout the country, as addiction continues to present a serious problem to a formidable percentage of the population. Find out how your state stacks up — check out our interactive infographic and click on each state to learn more about how substance abuse statistics break down across the nation.

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