Drug use in the United States continues to rise every year. Currently, almost 32 million people are actively using drugs, 11.7% of the US population. The most popular drugs are marijuana, methamphetamines, and prescription stimulants. If you factor in tobacco and alcohol use, more than 60% of the population actively uses some kind of substance.
Rates of Drug Use in the United States
Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamines, and prescription stimulants are the most commonly used drugs. Currently, there are 139.8 million people in the US that use alcohol. In addition, 59.8 million people use tobacco of some form. Marijuana and prescription stimulants are used by 2.9 million people, while 2.2 million use methamphetamines. Prescription painkiller use affects 1.9 million people, followed by heroin in 957,000 individuals. Cocaine is used by 638,000, and prescription sedatives are used by 319,000. There is no single cause for the increased US drug and alcohol use rates; people have different reasons. Let’s look at the most common reasons people turn to drugs.
Most Common Reasons We Abuse Narcotics
There are many reasons why people start using drugs. Most often, a person is trying to fix an issue occurring in their life, and they don’t know how to cope. The number one reason people start using drugs and alcohol is to cope with a mental health issue they are fighting. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD account for many drug abuse problems. People are struggling, so they start self-medicating to deal with it. Drugs numb their emotional pain, so they don’t have to feel it. These individuals often have undiagnosed mental health disorders, and many don’t even realize it. Stress is another common reason people start using drugs. Everyone has some form of stress they deal with daily, but many don’t know how to cope with it. Having high levels of stress is a well-known risk factor for drug addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse “The Science of Drug Use: A Resource for the Justice Sector” says:
Drugs excite the parts of the brain that make you feel good. But after you take a drug for a while, the feel-good parts of your brain get used to it. Then you need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. Soon, your brain and body must have the drug just to feel normal. You feel sick, awful, anxious, and irritable without the drug. You no longer have the good feelings you had when you first used the drug. This is true if you use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs. Misuse includes taking a drug differently than how your doctor tells you to (taking more or crushing pills to “shoot up” or snort), taking someone else’s prescription, or taking it just to get “high. Drug use can start as a way to escape—but it can quickly make your life worse. Besides just not feeling well, different drugs can affect your brain and body in many different ways. (NIDA)
Peer pressure is another reason people start using drugs. The need to fit in or participate in harmful activities and the pressure of being around others abusing drugs. There are so many people actively using drugs in this country it’s hard not to be around it at some point in your life.
The Many Reasons People Are Drawn to Drug Abuse
Family history and genetics play another big role in why people start using. For example, 30 to 70% of drug use and addiction issues are linked to genes. In addition, being born with these genes and other social factors puts many at risk. Some people use drugs recreationally or to experiment. For example, using drugs to “unwind” after a long day or a young person using them out of curiosity may seem harmless, but it can often lead to addiction. Especially if the person doesn’t realize they have a mental health condition or genetic predisposition.
Recovery from Addiction is POSSIBLE
Evoke Wellness MA offers evidence-based addiction treatment to cater to each patient’s individual needs. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care geared towards leading you on the road to long-lasting recovery. At Evoke Wellness MA, our primary goal is to make your treatment experience as comfortable as possible. If you are having issues with any substances, let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will help you start today’s recovery journey. Recovery today for a better tomorrow.