Exploring Regional Differences in Substance Abuse

Exploring Regional Differences in Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol addiction strikes hard nationally, but there are some differences from region-to-region.  Our next few blogs will explore regional addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Some of the important national survey data released at the end of 2010 gave us the good news that teenagers are using less tobacco, methamphetamines, and cocaine.  But on the sobering side, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the second-leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide (regardless of age) is prescription pain reliever overdose.  In fact, the non-medical use of narcotics is on the rise, leading to higher and higher addiction rates.

Quick national stats: 

  • an estimated 21.8 million Americans aged 12 or older had used illegal drugs in the month prior to taking the survey
  • the number of illegal drug use among people aged 12 and older had increased 8% over the previous year
  • slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported drinking in the month prior to the survey (this translates to about 130.6 million people)
  • In 2009, an estimated 22.5 million persons were classified with substance abuse or dependence
  • Of these, 3.2 million were classified with dependence on or abuse of both alcohol and illicit drugs

Interested in a more complete look at what is happening nationally?—explore the comprehensive results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug use and Health

Let’s look more closely at Florida drug and alcohol issues, where there is an epidemic of prescription narcotic abuse and addiction.  In fact, 49 of the top 50 prescriber’s of oxycodone are located in Florida, and this easy access has led to significant misuse of prescription painkillers in the Sunshine State.

Of concern to Floridians in light of this epidemic, is the impending closure of the Florida Governor’s Office of Drug Control.

Alcohol dependence in Florida is right at the national average, with binge drinking slightly below national average, and substance abuse trending above the national numbers.

Cocaine and crack cocaine abuse in Florida is among the highest in the nation.

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