INFORMATION ON U.S. STATES
With the onset of the New Year and the new decade ahead , I decided to do some light reading of health-related reports for the last twenty years, as well as projections for the coming decade. I happened across a report from Brookings. Its opening statement was pretty grim.
The United States is undoubtedly one of the most powerful, wealthiest, and most advanced countries in the world. And while we should always anticipate some shortcomings in even the greatest of nations, it comes as a surprise that the United States takes fifth place in the entire world for drug overdose deaths. The U.S. is ahead of almost all other developed nations for drug overdoses. The U.S. also loses more people per capita to drug overdoses than most third-world countries. How could this be?
While it is true that drug addiction can affect anyone, it is also true that drug use touches down in some communities more than it does in others. What makes certain areas of the U.S. different than others?
When we look at the news and general media discourse regarding drug and alcohol addiction, the subject matter is not that encouraging. It is easy enough to find headlines on “The Top Five States Most Affected by Drug Addiction,” or “The Three States with the Worst Drug Overdose Problems,” or “These Ten Cities Have the Most Drug Use in the Country,” and so on.
In a nation where drug and alcohol addiction has become commonplace, it is not that surprising that addiction would make its way into the workplace. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2017 about 19.7 million people in the U.S. struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.
When we think about drug and alcohol addiction and the drug crisis in general, odds are our thoughts and minds go instantly to the death toll of drug use and the families harmed by such losses. And that makes sense. Drug use cannot do more significant harm than claim the lives of those who struggle with such habits.
The U.S. struggles with an addiction problem, but this is not a problem that affects all of us equally. While there are over 20 million people in the U.S. who misuse drugs and alcohol regularly, some demographics and specific sectors of the population tend to suffer more than others do.
“For the first time in the nation’s history, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident.” That was the headlines from a January 14th, 2019 article in U.S. News. I knew the drug problem was terrible, but I was surprised that it had gotten that bad.
Addiction is not a new struggle. We’ve dealt with this problem as far back as the history books go, and probably further than that. Addiction is a difficult factor of human nature. It’s something that’s gnawed at us, silently, from the darkest corners of the deepest shadows for thousands of years.
When the number of drug users in the United States climbs to absolutely unprecedented levels, it is a logical assumption of course that drug use will begin to appear in the workforce.