It is a sad reality that substance abuse can cut lives short. Besides examining statistics about the number of overdoses or suicides due to drugs and alcohol, how can we measure this fact? One way is using a statistical measurement called Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL). YPLL measures premature mortality by comparing an established life expectancy (65 years in this case) with the actual age of an individual at their time of death.
We took a look at drug-induced and alcohol-induced deaths in 2010 to calculate the total years of potential life we lose each year due to substance abuse: 2,002,016 years. Considering that the entirety of human history has taken place over the last 200,000 years, we could have lived the history of the human race 10 times in that amount of time – and remember, that’s the years of potential we lose every single year.
Divided out by life expectancy, that’s 25,439 full lifetimes that we lose every single year due to substance abuse. To better understand what this means, we compared those lifetimes to data from the United States Census, to show what these lifetimes could have been, if not for drugs and alcohol.
If those lifetimes had not been lost, we could have had 21,801 high school graduates and 7,250 college graduates. Of those lost, 61 would have become doctors, 91 lawyers, 622 scientists or engineers, and 508 farmers or ranchers. We would have had 6,487 more married couples, 9,413 more mothers and 8,268 more fathers. Of those lost, 3,815 would have lived below the poverty line, 229 would have been millionaires, and 2 would have become famous. Since 7.3% of the US population suffers from substance addiction, 1,862 of those lost would have been addicts.
If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, you can still live up to your full potential. Call 12 Keys Rehab to claim back your life.
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