Drug and alcohol abuse is a disease which can affect anyone.  No one is immune to addiction. The media often characterize addicts as homeless or unemployed, but the truth is that substance abuse is prevalent everywhere. A recent study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 44 percent of Americans know someone who was addicted to prescription painkillers. The drug problem in the US stretches much further than just painkillers. In 2013, The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a study which showed that approximately 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug in the past month. The NIDA also reported that almost a 25% of individuals surveyed admitted that they had engaged in binge drinking in the previous month. Nearly 88,0009 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Drug abuse is a global problem which exists across all cultures and classes. A recent study showed that lawyers were nearly twice as likely to struggle with substance abuse as the general population. Drinking and drug use are often more socially acceptable in the legal profession, possibly because of the stresses and long hours involved. Lawyers often have more expendable income and participate in more social drinking with coworkers than is typical in other industries. The stigma we attach to addiction often keeps these individuals from getting help. No one wants to walk into their boss and say “I need time off to get treatment for drug abuse.” Addiction is often viewed as a weakness. In truth, many of your coworkers are likely also experiencing substance abuse issues. Most of these individuals will not seek the help they need. A study published by the NIH showed that only 14.6% of people with alcohol abuse or dependence received treatment.

Drug abuse is often portrayed as an immoral act which goes against community and religious standards. People are often afraid to admit that they have a substance abuse problem because they fear that they will be ostracized. The truth is that drug and alcohol abuse are extremely common and your friends and family members will likely want to help you get clean. Every adult has someone close to them who has struggled with addiction.

The legal consequences of drug abuse have been harsh since the US enacted the “war on drugs” In the 1980s. Studies have shown that minorities, particularly African Americans, typically receive much harsher prison sentences for similar drug crimes. Lawmakers have begun to enact policies which focus less of jail time and more on treatment options to try and correct these racial inequalities. A study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that every dollar we spent on drug treatment yielded a $12 decrease in costs related to lost workforce products, criminal justice, and healthcare costs. President Obama recently allocated $1.1 billion in additional funding for drug treatment programs which will be distributed to states this year as grants. $900 million of this money is designated directly for drug treatment facilities to help get more people into treatment.

Addiction is just part of human nature and is nothing to be ashamed of. People can become addicted to eating, pornography, shopping, exercising, video games, iPhones and a million other things. The difference with drug and alcohol addiction is that it causes both a physical and a chemical change to the body. You can use an MRI to scan the brain of a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol and you can actually observe tissues differences which are different from a non-addict. The symptoms of withdraw for drugs and alcohol can be severe and even life-threatening in the most severe cases. The best option for overcoming drug or alcohol abuse is to get help in a drug treatment facility where you can receive a medically assisted detox. The best treatment centers use a range of strategies to ensure long-term sobriety. Individuals with substance abuse often need access to medical testing for diseases, cognitive behavioral therapy, mental health services, group therapy, family treatment options and long-term follow-up to prevent relapses. It is important to remember that you are not alone. If you or a loved one has a substance abuse problem, contact TrueTreatment.com today and call us. Our goal is to help you overcome addiction so you can start living your life again.