Health & Medical Mental Health

About Alcohol & Substance Abuse

    An Extensive Medical Problem

    • The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) refers to substance abuse as the number one health problem in America, and according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the problem is getting worse. Its 2001 survey on drug abuse estimated that the number of illicit drug users in the United States had grown from an 12 million in 1992 to nearly 16 million in 2001.


    • According to CASA, there are more than 8 million children living in homes in which one parent needs treatment for substance dependency. More than 25 percent of children under 18 live in homes where at least one family member abuses alcohol. Children living under these conditions are reported to be at greater risk for both mental and physical health problems, including depression. They may also exhibit greater difficulty learning in school.


    • There is evidence that the tendency toward addiction is hereditary. CASA estimates children whose parents were alcoholics had a four-times greater risk for becoming alcohols or drug abusers than children without such a hereditary link.


    • A May 2009 report released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse revealed the cost of substance and alcohol abuse to the taxpayers to be more than $467 billion dollars in 2005. The lion's share of that amount, $373.9 billion, was supplied by the federal government, with state and local governments making up the rest.


    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration maintains a searchable directory of treatment facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance abuse. Their locator service maintains a database of more than 11,000 centers across the United States. The directory is updated monthly and includes facilities that treat adolescents as well as adults. The database can be accessed online at

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