Drug Use: Who Me? What Problem?

I'm fine, how about you? Millions of Americans are in denial about their drug use and should seek treatment, according to a 2001 survey. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that 4.6 million drug abusers do not believe they have a problem. The number of people in denial has grown significantly from previous years.

"That's not uncommon," says Sherry Knapp, Ph.D., of the Ohio Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board. "There are probably more people who are in denial than that. It's a difficult thing for people to accept that they have a problem."

An estimated 16.6 million Americans (7.3 percent of the population) abuse drugs and alcohol. Also, 11 million people abuse alcohol only, while 5.6 million people abuse illicit drugs.

"It takes some glimmer of acknowledgment before they can seek treatment," says Knapp. More people received treatment for their drug problems in 2001, but the number of people needing treatment outpaced those being remedied. Five million people failed to receive treatment for their drug abuse.

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse compiles an annual survey on drug trends in America. The survey was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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