Drug Abuse: It Affects Us All
Drug and alcohol abuse is not somebody else's problem. Every one of us probably knows someone who abuses alcohol or drugs. The problem affects us all — in our families, with our friends, at our workplaces and in our communities.

People in every walk of life and at every economic level abuse drugs and alcohol. The United States has been called the most drug-abusing industrial nation in the world, but illegal drugs are a growing problem in other industrialized countries as well. More than 10 tons of cocaine were seized by the police in Europe in 1991. People in Asia, Africa and Latin America are becoming adversely affected by the illegal drug supply with increased addiction, violence and crime.

In the United States, 26 million people used an illegal drug at least once in 1991, totaling 13 percent of the population over 12 years of age. More than 23 million people have tried cocaine. More than 1 million used crack. There are 10 million individuals using marijuana at least monthly, 2 million cocaine users and more than 10 million alcoholics. Nonmedical use of barbiturates and tranquilizers is a problem for 2 percent of the U.S. population.

Drug abuse is a major problem for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 in the United States, with 15 percent of this age group using illegal drugs at least monthly. Of adolescents aged 12 to 17, one out of 14 uses illegal drugs at least monthly, 4 percent regularly use marijuana and 1.5 percent have tried cocaine within the past year.

Half of all traffic deaths are linked to alcohol and drug abuse. Two out of three murders, half of all fire fatalities, and eight of 10 suicides involve drugs and alcohol. More than 70 percent of individuals arrested in the 20 largest U.S. cities had been using illegal drugs.