Substance Abuse and Addiction

General Resources | North Carolina Resources | Duluth Model Power & Control Wheel™

Substance Dependency is a Disease

In our modern American society, alcohol has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives. We often don’t take the time to reflect on our drinking habits, whether it’s having wine with dinner, unwinding with a few drinks after work, or enjoying a few beers while cheering on our favorite sports teams. However, when a consistent pattern of drinking starts to emerge, it can quickly turn into a problem that needs attention.

Furthermore, drug use has become increasingly prevalent in our country. Among today’s teenagers, the numbers are concerning, with over 90 percent having tried alcohol, more than 50 percent experimenting with marijuana, 17 percent admitting to trying cocaine, and 12.5 percent using various hallucinogens.

These statistics highlight the importance of raising awareness about the potential risks associated with alcohol and drug consumption, particularly among young individuals. Understanding the implications of these behaviors is crucial in addressing the challenges that arise from substance use in our society. As we confront these issues, it is essential to promote education, support, and resources that can help individuals make healthier choices and navigate the complexities of substance use in a responsible manner.


Why Do We Drink or Use Drugs?

In today’s social scene, there’s often a perceived necessity to drink or try drugs during parties and gatherings.

For some individuals, alcohol or drug use becomes a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress and pressures of everyday life, whether it’s school, work, or other personal issues like marital struggles or physical health concerns.

Alcohol and drugs can unintentionally fill the void of unsatisfying relationships, unfulfilling jobs, or a lack of self-fulfillment.

In certain cases, people turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to mask feelings of guilt, shyness, or low self-esteem.

However, this pattern of relying on drinking or drug use to cope with life’s challenges can lead to addiction. Unfortunately, societal norms have made alcohol and some drugs more socially acceptable, making experimentation at younger ages more prevalent. Additionally, the easy accessibility of these substances to today’s youth further increases the likelihood of their use at some point.


Did You Know?

The average age of first experimentation with drugs is 13, and for alcohol it is even younger. Drug use has been classified as a major problem for kids as early as fourth grade by the students themselves.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in America. It is the third largest cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease and cancer. Alcohol and tobacco use are a significant “risk factor” in heart disease and cancer. It accounts for over 100,000 deaths per year in this country alone. It is also the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Alcohol and other drugs contribute to over 50 percent of all suicides and over 50 percent of all violent crimes.

Over 60 percent of admissions to emergency rooms are either directly or indirectly due to drug or alcohol usage.

Over 50 percent of all traffic accidents involve the use of drugs or alcohol, with many of these being fatal.

It is estimated that drugs and alcohol are a factor in at least 80 percent of domestic violence incidents.

Alcohol and drug use contributes to 60 percent of all sub-standard job performance and at least 40 percent of all industrial accidents.

Alcohol and drug addiction are treatable. However, it is our most untreated disease in the United States. It is estimated that 35 out of 36 alcoholics never receive treatment of any kind. This number is increased significantly when drug addiction of all kinds is included.

More than 60 percent of college women who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, herpes or AIDS were intoxicated at the time of infection.

28 percent of all college dropouts are alcohol users.

Between 1986 and 1996, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests were highest for 21-year-olds.

Individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are involved in more than one-third of all alcohol related traffic accidents.

95 percent of all college campus violence is alcohol related.

More than 40 percent of all college students with academic problems are alcohol users.


Helpful Links

“The Addiction website brings together many of America’s top addiction experts to demystify this much-misunderstood disease. To find help now, or to learn more about the latest breakthroughs in treatment, select a link.”

“Offering hope and help to families and friends of alcoholics.”

“Narcotics Anonymous ~ an international, community-based association of recovering drug addicts with more than 33,500 weekly meetings in over 116 countries worldwide.” To find a meeting in your area visit

Drug Rehab