Understanding addiction topic was published by the National Institute for Drug Abuse. (NIDA) The statistics are shocking.
Many people do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse. They mistakenly view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem and may characterize those who take drugs as morally weak. One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction-that it is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower. Through scientific advances we now know much more about how exactly drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives.
Drug abuse and addiction are a major burden to society. Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States-including health- and crime-related costs as well as losses in productivity-exceed half a trillion dollars annually.
This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs:
- $168 billion for tobacco
- $185 billion for alcohol
Staggering as these numbers are, however, they do not fully describe the breadth of deleterious public health-and safety-implications, which include family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and other crimes.
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