The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board reportedly announced that overall teen drug abuse in the U.S. has decreased by 24 percent since 2001. Unfortunately, the U.N. also reported that more people are abusing prescription drugs than before. Highlights of the news include:
- “After cannabis, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances.”
- “Among young adults, aged 18-25 years, abuse fell in all drug categories except pain relievers.”
Despite the good news of an overall decline, drug addiction is still a major problem in the United States. Even with the decline, there are still an estimated 19.9 million people aged 12 and up who suffer from drug addiction. An INCB representative also stated: “. . . the problem of substance abuse among United States teenagers continues to be widespread, as nearly half of United States students aged 17-18 (47 percent) have tried an illicit drug by the time they have finished secondary school.” That means just before going off to college, half of all students have used drugs.
Drug trade doesn’t just affect our nation’s children – it impacts our society as a whole. In 2002, the cost of health care and lost productivity due to illegal drug usage was estimated at $181 Billion. Just today, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory warning recommending American travelers to stay away from drug related. Reportedly, about 6,000 people were killed in Mexico from drug violence.
Even though it is great news that drug abuse is starting to decline, it’s only because of the efforts made by parents, friends, communities and law enforcement that progress is being made. Our country cannot afford to stop taking addiction seriously.