Every day in America millions of young adults (18-25 years old) use illicit substances, ranging from marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, to hallucinogens and inhalants. Out of the 35.6 million young adult population (from 2012) in the United States, one fifth used an illicit drug in the past month, and the percentage of those users has increased from 2008. Even though cannabis is generally perceived as the least harmful illicit drug, a steady increase in users seeking treatment for use disorders has become clear over the past decade. Heroin and cocaine follow similar increases in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe; most interestingly are the 2013 reports of synthetic opioids being replaced by heroin as access increases in parts of the United States. Along the vein of this emergence, seizures of heroin have increased as well as seizures of cocaine doubling over the past decade.
The infographic below shows how often drugs are used daily in the United States and the number of first-time illicit drug users on an average day:
On the global stage, the total number of drug users (both illicit and problem drug users) has steadily risen from 208 million in 2006, to 324 million in 2012, with opiates, opioids, and cannabis seeing the most prevalence since 2009. With usage rates increasing, the necessity and access to proper treatment could not be stressed more. Only one in six problem drug users access treatment each year; however, this data is regionally dependent. For example, only one in eighteen problem drug users receive treatment in Africa, while the rate is one in three in North America.
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