The Key to Substance Abuse Prevention: What the Data Tells Us

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New data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) shows the importance of early intervention in preventing substance abuse disorders. The data also found long-term treatment programs were effective in curbing addiction and helping individuals struggling with substance abuse discover a higher quality of life in sobriety. By using these recent statistics to better understand substance abuse in a wide range of situations, the hope is that both prevention and treatment programs can be more effective.

Substance Use
Statistics from 2013 indicate that substance abuse often begins during the teen years. According to data from SAMSHA, 11.6 percent of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 were current alcohol users and 8.8 percent were currently using illicit drugs. As many as 5.2 percent of teens were considered to have a substance abuse disorder within the past year. Those numbers increased during the college years, with 22.3 percent of students between the ages of 18 and 22 using illicit drugs and 59.4 percent currently using alcohol.

Substance Use and Mental Health
The SAMSHA data also showed a strong relationship between substance abuse disorders and mental illness, suggesting more effective diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems might help to prevent substance abuse. In 2013, it was estimated that around 7.7 million adults in the U.S. struggled with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder, a condition known as a co-occurring disorder. By 2020, it is predicted that mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a cause of disability worldwide.

Preventative Measures

Other data from SAMSHA showed that early intervention could reduce the incidence of substance abuse disorders. Adults that starting using alcohol at age 14 or younger were more likely to deal with alcohol abuse by the time they reached the age of 21. At the same time, teens that were exposed to drug or alcohol prevention messages were less likely to use illicit drugs than those that were not exposed to such messages.

Treatment Options
For those that do develop a substance abuse disorder, statistics also showed that long-term treatment programs were effective in helping them turn away from their abuse or addiction. In fact, most people that got in and remained in substance abuse treatment were more likely to improve their quality of life by decreasing criminal activity and improving occupational, social and psychological functioning.

At Simple Recovery, we help people struggling with many different substance abuse disorders. It is never too late to seek help. Contact us today at 888-743-0490 to learn how we can help you get on the path to recovery and long-term sobriety.