As we start the 50 states of addiction series let’s just take some time to reflect on the current epidemic. Addiction is America’s most neglected disease. Roughly 40 million Americans age 12 and over meet criteria for addiction involving alcohol, narcotic drugs and nicotine. What’s frightening is 1 in 10 people with addiction report not receiving any treatment. Around 90 percent of those people are white and more than half of them are woman.

Lynyrd Skynryd song “Sweet Home Alabama” made its dispute in 1974

Alabama is known as the “Heart of Dixie”and the Yellowhammer State is also a nicknamed after the state bird. Unfortunately, they are no exception to the drug epidemic. They have the 36th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Right now prescription drug related deaths out number heroin and cocaine fatalities combined. Coming in at 12 per 100,000.

What are the facts?

So let’s focus on the facts. 13.1 percent of 18-25 year olds are not receiving needed treatment for alcohol use. 6.8 percent of 18-25 year olds are not receiving needed treatment for illicit drug use. Approximately 200 people are getting arrested due to drugs each year. About 300 meth labs are seized each year. “It all goes back to the fact that, in Alabama, we have an insatiable appetite and demand for opioid-based drugs,” said Clay Morris, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in the state.

Why do we care?

Why does any of this matter? Geographically speaking they are a little under the national average of drug-induced deaths. They are about 12 per 100,000. The issue at hand is some of those deaths could and should be avoided. No one seeking help should go with out it!

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