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Prevention & Education Services by State

Prevention & Education Services by State

Drug Prevention & Education in the United States

It’s a well-known fact that there is a major social and economic problem with drug addiction and drug trafficking in the US on a regular monthly basis. This is not some mysterious fabrication but a real-life issue. Every month there is another child who is offered some illicit drug, whether in the schoolyard, community playground or some clubhouse environment. The age of experimenting with drugs has become younger each passing year and recent studies have shown that in some parts of the US kids as young as eight and nine years of age have tried some type of mind-altering drug.

These types of statistics are quite common in other parts of the world where education is in great need of reform and where poverty is higher than the unemployment rate. However, to find some statistic like this in the United States of America is unacceptable. Yes, there are many organizations across the country doing all sorts of countermeasures with prevention and education to slow down the rate of addiction, and though there are some signs of betterment much, much more is needed, and the problem is actually so great that it requires federal intervention.

Drug Addiction and Rehabilitation Costs in America

In 2018, the Federal Drug Control Spending budget was $27.57 billion, which was up from $23.8 billion in 2013. Approximately 39% of the total budget was being spent on treatment, 33% is spent on domestic law enforcement, 18% was spent on interdiction, or prohibiting illegal substances, and only 5% was spent on prevention. In 2018 nearly 1 in 5 people aged 12 and older used an illicit drug in the past year, which was higher than the percentages in 2015 and 2016. The drug use in 2018 was primarily driven by marijuana, and 16% of people aged 12 or older have used marijuana. Prescription pain reliever misuse was the second most common form of drug abuse in America in 2018. Close to 4% of the population was abusing prescription pain medication. In 2018, it was estimated that over 10 million Americans aged 12 or older were misusing opioids in the past year.

In 2017 it was estimated that over 20 million Americans aged 12 or older needed substance abuse treatment. This translated into 1 in 13 people who needed drug rehab and 1 in 7 young adults aged 18 to 25 who needed help for drug addiction. In 2017 only 1.5% of Americans aged 12 or older received treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. There were also an estimated 18.2 million Americans who needed treatment and did not receive it that year. Annually, substance abuse costs the nation over $600 billion. For example, one full year of methadone maintenance costs around $4,700 per patient, and one full year of imprisonment because of drugs costs around $24,000. Every dollar that is invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 to $7 in reduced drug-related crime.

What is so effective about drug education and prevention programs?

The most effective aspect about drug education and prevention is spreading the truth about drugs; having it click with just enough youth so as the truth can continually be passed around. These programs are also effective because it brings communities, organizations, and schools together with all working as one helping to spread a positive life message. When people come together, messages can be heard, and support is provided to the youth to help them make the right decisions. Drug education and prevention are really the keys to stopping addiction in the first place. With just a bit of truth, a person can make the right choices, and avoid addiction altogether.

You may have been told by a close neighbor that their son or daughter was suddenly not doing so well in school, or becoming less interested in sports and creative activities or cultural subjects; It is becoming more isolated and demonstrating rudeness towards authority, etc. Well, these are all signs of possible substance abuse to illicit or prescription drugs. Now you as a parent are faced with a very difficult task of first discovering if the child is, in fact, using drugs and then doing something about it. In the end, this can all be prevented way before it becomes a serious health risk.

As mentioned above drug education and prevention are the first steps to dealing with drug addiction. When a person is properly educated about some dangerous subject matter, they tend to become more cautious and will respect the subject a bit more. This is no different for a child, the first and foremost step in handling drug abuse is, drug prevention. Prevention is the act of giving someone sufficient correct information or actions that will hinder or stop altogether a bad act from occurring. Caution signs on the road are the prevention of dangers ahead so drivers can take actions to avoid those dangers. 
It’s not in high school or middle school that prevention should be done as this is where drug education is required. No to prevent future drug addiction it must be done prior to age fourteen. Per statistics of 2012, most drug addictions are seen in ages 14 and above. This means that drug or alcohol was investigated or experimented with prior to that age which is where prevention must be done. If we as a nation are to curb the ongoing trend of illicit and prescription-drug abuse and have a drug-free generation, it must be done prior to age 14. Elementary Schools should adopt drug prevention workshops as early as ages 8 to 10. These must be interesting, high energy and engaging workshops and with hands-on application of being able to say no and understand why.

Failure to do the above opens the path to drug addiction and other substance abuse problems that now require drug education lessons to somehow bring about understanding that drugs are poisons that can and will kill you. Teenagers are searching out their role in this high-tech society and schools have somewhat lost their role in assisting kids to find their path. Parents are too busy working two and three jobs to take the time and be a mentor to their own kids. The child who is searching his or her role will take on any path that stops the doubt and confusion of first independence. Growing up is hard enough but to present a child with a “quick fix” of marijuana or alcohol or other illicit drugs as a solution to their attempt to find some footing in this immense nation is just plain evil.

Support any drug prevention and drug education programs in your area, if there are none in your county or city or state than start one. Insist that there be drug prevention workshops in your area, see to it that they are proper and get results. This is a solution to a future drug-free generation.

Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/

https://www.drugwarfacts.org/

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DR. ROHIT S. ADI MD, DABAM

Dr. Rohit is a Diplomate of the American Society of Addiction Medicine who has been supervising successful detox for over 13 years.

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