The National Institute on Drug Abuse | Rehab & Treatment

For information on hotlines, counseling services, or treatment options in your State, please call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1–800–662–HELP (4357)!

Aurora Colorado Theatre Shooter James Holmes

Aurora Colorado theatre shooter James Holmes was likely under the influence of drugs during the massacre.

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. Over 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. More than half of all American adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking. More than seven million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent or has abused alcohol.

Non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs, including painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants, is growing. An estimated 48 million people (20 percent of the U.S. population) ages 12 and older have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.

Drug addiction is a complex illness that affects millions around the world. Substance abuse and addictions disrupt so many aspects of a sufferers life and are caused by so many factors that treatment is not easy and every individual must be treated differently. Mental health issues that come into play with addiction further complicate treatment and may require extensive time and study before any significant progress can be made.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 23.2 million persons (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2007. Of these individuals, 2.4 million (10.4 percent of those who needed treatment) received treatment at a specialty facility (i.e., hospital, drug or alcohol rehabilitation or mental health center). Thus, 20.8 million persons (8.4 percent of the population aged 12 or older) needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem but did not receive it.

Deadly abuse of painkillers or other prescription drugs have reached epidemic levels with over thirty-six thousand people dying from pill overdoses in 2008. Half of the overdoses required a prescription, most of which were opioid pain relievers (Methadone; morphine; hydrocodone, Vicodin; oxycodone, OxyContin).

Science shows that treatment can help patients addicted to drugs using key principles that have emerged including:

  • Addiction is very complex but treatable disease.
  • No one treatment is right for each individual.
  • Treatment needs to be easily available.
  • Effective treatment targets the needs of each individual, not the drugs they use.
  • Treatment time is critical.
  • Medications may be important and should be combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies if used.
  • An individual’s progress should be assessed continually and modified as needed.
  • Other mental disorders may need treatment.
  • Medically assisted detoxification by itself does little to change future abuse.
  • Treatment does not have to be voluntary.
  • Lapses during treatment do occur and should be addressed.

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