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Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2008
This paper presents a brief informational overview of drug abuse and addiction.
Many people do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to faster compulsive drug abuse. However, drug abuse and addiction are a major burden to society with estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including health and crime-related costs, as well as losses in productivity, exceeding half a trillion dollars annually. This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs, $168 billion for tobacco, and $185 billion for alcohol. With these staggering costs and the lack of understanding of this nationwide problem and the reasons behind drug abuse and addiction, this paper was created to provide a better understanding of what drug addiction is, what happens to the brain when drugs are taken, why some people become addicted and others do not, and the prevention of drug abuse. References