The United States is struggling in the midst of a dire, encapsulating addiction epidemic that threatens to overcome much of our society and our very way of life. According to recent publications from both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than twenty-four million Americans suffer from some form of drug addiction or alcohol dependence.
That number alone represents at least twelve percent of Americans from the ages of fourteen to ninety. This means that twelve out of one-hundred American teens and adults are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Obviously, the prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction is more prominent in the U.S. now than it perhaps ever was. And one of the mistakes that we make in viewing this problem is in thinking that addiction only affects certain demographics and areas of the population when in actual fact addiction is now a beast that can touch down in the lives of anyone at any position or stature in their life.
While drug and alcohol addiction may have been historically something that only affected the impoverished, the inner city residents, and the minority demographics, substance abuse is now just as likely to happen in suburbia, amongst middle and upper-class residents, and even amongst Americans who possess college educations and impressive degrees and careers. Case in point, drug and alcohol addiction is now becoming all too prevalent amongst experts in the medical industry of all places.
The common denominator of addiction in the medical sphere is that doctors and nurses and other medical practitioners are more exposed to substances, and so it makes sense that they would be more likely to contract a habit. According to renowned addiction expert and physician, Dr. Edward Journey, an addictionologist and clinical instructor at the University of Michigan:
Dr. Journey goes on to discuss how medical experts can determine if their colleagues are struggling with addiction or not by saying that:
What is particularly noteworthy in the issue of medical experts succumbing to drug and alcohol addiction is that, as a demographic, these experts are actually more likely to suffer from an addiction habit than the general populace is. According to a direct citation from research done by Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index:
All of the information points in essentially the same direction. Drug and alcohol addiction is simply more likely to occur in the medical industry than it is in the general populace. Some estimates indicate that, while about twelve percent of the overall American adult populace struggles with addiction, something closer to fifteen percent of the population of medical experts struggles with such habits.
The biggest tipping point that caused such a prominence of addiction to occur in the medical industry was the introduction of highly addictive and habit-forming pharmaceutical drugs as the mainstay of how we addressed much of our medical problems in society today. Now, medical experts are exposed to highly addictive and mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs, drugs that these professionals must dole out on a near-daily basis.
With that in mind, it becomes a little more understandable how this demographic has become so smitten with prescription drug abuse. To curb this rising tide of addiction amongst medical experts, we need to curb the use and reliance on pharmaceutical drugs that currently envelops the nation. We need to get doctors introduced to holistic and natural forms of pain relief and mental relief, and we need to reduce our use and reliance on highly addictive pain relievers and mental health drugs.