George F. Hildebrandt
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Important drug statistics from NIDA

You are probably well aware that using illegal drugs may cause health complications and legal repercussions. However, you may not fully understand the seriousness of the issue. One of the best ways to open your eyes to the deeper problems of substance abuse is knowing some trends and statistics. 

There is a wide variety of research data on drug usage. The National Institute on Drug Abuse collects findings to help educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse and addiction. Here are some of the most compelling facts from the NIDA about illicit drug use.

Drug use in college-age adults

Daily use of marijuana is a particular concern for young adults, especially for those not in college. The most recent data shows that 13.2 percent of young adults who do not attend college use cannabis on a daily basis. This is a dramatic rise from roughly 8 percent in 2012. Just over 3 percent of college students use marijuana every day. Non-college adults also use synthetic drugs more frequently than their peers who are in school.

Drugged driving

Driving under the influence of drugs is dangerous and illegal. Here are some core findings:

  • In 2017, 12.8 million Americans age 16 and older drove after using illegal substances.
  • In 2016, 43.6 percent of people who died in traffic accidents tested positive for drugs. Over 50 percent of those tested positive for multiple drugs.
  • Even legal drugs, such as sedatives and prescription opioids, result in driving impairment. 

To prevent drugged driving, the NIDA advises getting a designated driver and avoiding parties where drugs are present.

Costs of substance abuse

Abusing drugs has economic consequences, too. These costs are in relation to health care, crime and lost productivity at work. The annual cost of illegal drugs to the United States is approximately $193 billion. Additionally, prescription opioids cost our nation about $78.5 billion each year. When you add together the costs of abusing drugs, alcohol and tobacco, it costs our country a whopping $740 billion annually. 

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