Addiction is a complex disease, and it takes more than willpower to quit. Drugs and alcohol actually change the brain in ways that promote abuse.
- About 30 percent of men and 16 percent of women occasionally binge drink. That’s three to four times the number of Americans who say they are heavy drinkers.
- Excessive drinking raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer. But alcoholism alone can kill. About 88,000 people a year die from alcohol abuse.
- More than 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs such as painkillers, sleeping pills and stimulants. Since 2001, the number of people who died from prescription drug overdose has nearly tripled.
- Young people increasingly use painkillers for recreation. About 1 in 12 high school seniors say they’ve used Vicodin and 1 in 20 say they’ve taken OxyContin to get high.