According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of pre-teens and teens experimenting with illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol has decreased from previous years. The not-so-good news is that there are millions who are unable to seek treatment from an established St. Louis rehabilitation center, or rehab centers in other cities for that matter. Mary Elizabeth Dallas of CBS News Healthday discusses how much support is needed to care for the current generation of abusers:
Many Americans who need treatment for a substance abuse disorder are not getting the help they need. The report revealed that in 2013, almost 23 million Americans aged 12 and older needed treatment for an alcohol or drug abuse problem, but only 2.5 million got help in a facility designed for the treatment of substance use disorders.
The report showed that less young people today are willing to experiment with substances like alcohol and tobacco. The same study also revealed that the number of kids becoming dependent on these substances also dropped. The fact that there will be less addicts and abusers in the coming generations is indeed welcome news.
Encouragingly, the new study also found that alcohol use, binge drinking and the use of tobacco products among young people between the ages of 12 and 17 also dropped between 2002 and 2013.
The annual survey of 70,000 people aged 12 and older across the United States revealed that between 2002 and 2013, substance dependence or abuse problems among this age group also dropped from 8.9 percent to 5.2 percent.
Rehabilitation is a daunting decision to be made. Many addicts don’t know what to expect and expressly fear the unknown. Their length of stay will depend on the required treatment – anywhere from a few months to a year. They have to be supported by friends and family to take this giant step on the road to their recovery. Experience has shown that those who spend longer periods in rehabilitation programs have a better chance of achieving long-term sobriety.
The problem at hand
Efforts must be made to support the current crop of substance abusers. The report mentioned the fact that there is a shortage of rehabilitation facilities. What wasn’t mentioned is the reason for the limited access to treatment centers like the Midwest Institute for Addiction, which can help substance abusers of any age get a grip on their situation and turn their lives around. Perhaps with assistance from local government, non-profit organizations, and loved ones, access to the best outpatient rehabilitation centers in St. Louis and elsewhere will be realized before it’s too late.
(Article excerpt and image from “http://www.cbsnews.com/news/drug-alcohol-and-tobacco-use-by-teens/” 16 September 2014, CBS News)