The Demographics of Addiction
As drug and alcohol use increase yearly, it is important to remember that addiction can affect the lives of anyone, despite age, gender, religion and race. Learning more about the demographics of addiction can help shed valuable light on where the problems lie and how best to solve them.
Teenagers are the youngest and the largest group to be affected by drug addiction with alcohol and marijuana being the most accessible. There are approximately three million teenagers that are addicted to alcohol and half of all teenagers that try alcohol will become heavy users of it. Despite research and abstinence programs, teenagers do not fully understand the repercussions of alcohol use despite its legality. 6.5% of high school seniors smoke marijuana on a daily basis and every year the numbers increase. Adderall and other stimulants are also commonly abused by teenagers as an aid to concentration and focus.
College has a reputation of being a time for young adults to experiment with drugs and alcohol, but when left unchecked this abuse can quickly lead to a life-long addiction. The independence that students find while away at college and the easy availability of drugs and alcohol make this a very dangerous time for young adults. About 80% of college students drink alcohol heavily which leads to the deaths of 1,825 students annually. Heavy abuse of alcohol can lead to poor academic performance and addiction. “Party drugs” such as LSD and ecstasy have been popular at colleges since the 60s and continue to be dangerous gateway drugs.
Drug addiction is on the rise in most age demographics but most surprisingly, there is an increase in drug addiction for adults aged 50-59. Most believe that it can be traced to the success of the pharmaceutical industry and the increase of dangerous drugs prescribed by doctors. As people get older, they require more medications to manage their health problems. Doctors are quick to prescribe multiple high-dosage medications without regulating the patient’s intake. Alcohol has always been a large source of addiction in adults, but it was never demonized because of the social acceptance. Alcoholism and the major complications that come from it is one of the leading causes of death for people in this age group.
Abuse by Gender
In general, men are much more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than women although there are discrepancies in the type of drug usually abused. Men are more likely to abuse performance-enhancer and stimulants while women are more likely to develop addictions to painkiller and fat-burners.
No matter what age or gender a person is, finding treatment for addiction is always an option. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, talk to a medical professional about finding the best treatment.