- Addiction is a Chronic Disease with Deadly Consequences -
Over 70,000 people die from overdose each year, more than in the entire Vietnam and Gulf Wars combined. Because addiction is often treated as an acute vs, a chronic disease, rehab programs don't stay connected to their clients after initial treatment helping to drive relapse rates as high as 85% in the first year following treatment.
Opioid abuse has deadly consequences
Drug overdose deaths rose from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017. The main driver of drug overdose deaths were opioids―mainly synthetic opioids (other than methadone), with a 12.9-fold increase from 2007 to 2017.
Millions need treatment
A 2016 study revealed that an estimated 21.0 million people aged 12 or older (or 1 in 13 people) needed substance misuse treatment with 1 in 7 people among young adults aged 18 to 25. Only 28% (6 million people) of those that needed it, received substance use treatment
The cost of substance abuse and addiction is skyrocketing
The estimated cost of substance misuse in the United States—including illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is just under $1 trillion a year and growing. Substance misuse in the U.S. costs society in increased healthcare costs, crime, and lost productivity. Drug abuse alone costs the nation more than $120 billion per year in lost productivity, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC).
High relapse rates must be addressed to improve recovery
Drug addiction is a chronic relapsing disease because repeated drug use causes changes in the brain affecting an addicted person’s self-control and ability to resist triggers and cravings. Statistics show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within the year following treatment and more than 2/3 of individuals in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment.
Adolescents are at higher risk
The risk of developing the disease begins early with 1 in 4 individuals that use addictive substances before age 18 becoming addicted. A study looking at the first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) the study discovered that if a parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, the child had an 8 times greater chance of developing an addiction.
Substance abuse rewires the adolescent brain
The rational part of the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so. Unlike an adult, teens process information in the brain using the amygdala, the emotional part that makes impulsive decisions like experimenting with substances. Repeated drug use triggers the brain to release dopamine at a high rate and prolonged use rewires the brain and arrests its normal development triggering it to seek more of the substance.