The numbers don’t lie, and in fact, they shed light on the staggering addiction issues this country is facing. More than 24.6 million Americans over the age of 12 live with some form of substance abuse or dependence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared that prescription drug abuse in the United States has reached epidemic levels. Heroin use rose 75% between 2007 and 2011, and as of 2014, 17 million Americans were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder.
We have a responsibility as family members, friends, employers, colleagues, physicians, educators, religious leaders and neighbors—to reach out to help those suffering with this disease and lead them back to substance abuse-free lives. The earlier we reach them, the greater our likelihood of success.