Addictions are a worldwide phenomenon adversely affecting the lives of millions across all geographical boundaries and cultures. At a personal level, addictions cause numerous problems and people’s lives are destroyed as a result. Their loved ones also suffer the trauma from the negative ripple effect. Despite efforts undertaken by governments and rehabilitation institutions, addictions can drain entire nations, reducing their effectiveness and burdening them with extra costs. Here are some of the alarming statistics that show the impact that addictions have:
- According to Forbes.com the five most expensive addictions to the US with an estimated annual cost in terms of treatment expense and loss of productivity are alcohol ($166 billion), smoking ($157 billion), drugs $110 billion, over-eating ($107 billion) and gambling ($40 billion).
- In 2015, 10.1% of Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. Illicit drugs include marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, or the misuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives. (Ref: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2015)
- Alcohol is a factor in one in three (30%) sexual offences, one in three (33%) burglaries and one in two (50%) street crimes in the UK. (Drinkaware.co.uk 2013)
- Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs cost the US over $600 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. (Drugabuse.gov, 2013)
- One in eight deaths of Australians aged under 25 is related to alcohol consumption. (Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), 2013)
These are just some of the grim statistics that are reflected across the nations of the world that show the deadly impact of substance abuse and addictions at a personal, familial and social level. Given the above statistics, it is no wonder why the governments of the world collectively spend billions of dollars to curb the threat that addictions pose.
Success rates for overcoming addiction have historically been low:
- In a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from a sample total of 937,499 records of clients discharged in 2003 for substance abuse treatment across 26 states in the US, only 41% completed the treatment. (Ref: Office of Applied Studies, US Department of Health)
- Relapse following treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is common, predictable and preventable, according to “Relapse & Recovery: Behavioural Strategies for Change,” a 2003 research report by the Caron Foundation, one of the US’s oldest and largest addiction treatment centres. Relapse rates for addictive diseases range from 50 percent for resumption of heavy use to 90 percent for a brief lapse.
- An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis (Potter Greg, Jul 2004) indicated better results for hypnosis as a treatment approach for addictions.
The purpose of life is to complete our destiny (karma) and to grow spiritually to realise God. People who are addicted waste their time, money and energy in pursuing an addiction which takes them away from the true purpose of life. Accordingly, families and society also have to battle this issue and become forced participants in this challenging situation. If society were to invest the same effort in pursuing spiritual growth, the world would be very different compared to its current state.