To help mark the upcoming release of the Drug Free USA stamp, here are five facts about drug abuse in the United States.
1. Many Americans know someone with a drug addiction. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 46 percent of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or has been in the past. Identical shares of men and women say this (46 percent each), and there are no statistically significant differences between whites (46 percent), Hispanics (50 percent) and Blacks (52 percent).
2. Drug addiction is seen as a pressing problem. Another Pew study, also released in 2018, found Americans overwhelmingly see drug addiction as a problem in their local communities. Ninety percent of Americans who live in a rural area say drug addiction is either a major or minor problem in their community, as do 87 percent in urban and 86 percent in suburban areas.
3. Drug overdose death rates in the United States have increased five-fold since 1980. In 2018, there were more than 67,300 drug overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the death rate was down about 4 percent from the previous year, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased by 10 percent.
4. Tobacco use, illicit drugs and underage drinking are the most common forms of substance use among adolescents and adults. While tobacco use and underage drinking have been steadily decreasing since 2002, the use of illicit substances has been increasing, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Of the estimated 22.5 million people in the past year who needed treatment for substance use, only 12 percent received treatment at a specialty facility.
5. Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s largest and longest-running drug prevention campaign. The initiative, organized by the National Family Partnership, began in 1985 and takes place each year from Oct. 23-31. One of this year’s highlights will be the release of the Drug Free USA stamp on Oct. 27.