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Substance Abuse: The Nation's Number One Health Problem

NCJ Number
Constance Horgan; Kathleen C. Skwara; Gail Strickler
Date Published
May 2001
2 pages
This book discusses patterns of substance abuse in the United States, the consequences of substance abuse, and what is and can be done to combat the problem.
An overview of substance abuse in America identifies it as a significant health and social problem and considers the nature of substance use, abuse, and dependence. Other topics discussed in the overview are historical trends in consumption and policy, the impact of substance abuse on all segments of society, the societal costs of substance abuse, and taking action and monitoring change. The book then provides a detailed discussion of patterns of use, including perception of risk, implications of early use, trends in use, demographic differences in heavy use, and attempts to quit. A section on the consequences of substance use provides data on tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug deaths and considers strains on the Nation's health care system, the effects of substance abuse on families, its relationship to crime, and its impact in the workplace. The third and final section of the book focuses on what is being done to combat the problem. Issues addressed are public attitudes, the media, illicit drug control, community-based approaches, alcohol and cigarette taxes, restrictions on alcohol use, restrictions on smoking, alcohol and drug abuse treatment and its effectiveness, and smoking cessation programs. Suggestions for further reading are provided for each section of the book. Appended selected substance abuse-related Web sites, progress on selected objectives in "Healthy People 2000: Alcohol and Other Drugs," and progress on selected objectives in "Healthy People 2000: Tobacco"