A study released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org in March showed that 10 percent of American adults, ages 18 and over, consider themselves in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. The organization’s president, Steve Pasierb, described the findings as a reminder that “addiction is a treatable disease and recovery can be a reality.”

September is National Recovery Month (www.recovery month.gov), and celebrates the achievements of those who now live productive and substance-free lives, and promotes the message that recovery is possible.

Despite the positive reminders that recovery is attainable, the problem of addiction has not gone away. The CDC calls the current abuse of the prescription drug class of opioid analgesics such as Vicodin and OxyContin an “epidemic.” There are more than 25,000 unintentional overdose deaths in the U.S. every year. Of that number, the overdoses attributed to opioid analgesics exceed that of heroin and cocaine combined.

Youth is a crucial time in the development of addiction disorders, with 90 percent of addictions starting in the teen years. It is estimated that 11 million teens and young adults need addiction treatment. Most people who begin smoking in their teens are regular smokers before they’re 18. And more than four in 10 of those who start drinking before age 15 are eventually alcoholics. According to one Washington, D.C., teen, “We’re peer-pressured every day to do drugs.”


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The Changing Face of American Addictions
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