Substance Abuse And Mental Health

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Substance abuse and mental health issues affect millions of adolescents and adults in the United States. An estimated 24.6 million individuals aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users in 2013; including 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17. In 2013, 60.1 million individuals aged 12 or older were past month binge drinkers, including 1.6 million adolescents. In Kansas, the percentage of people over the age of 18 with mental illnesses is about 18.2% which is similar to the national average (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2014).

Mental health disorders and substance abuse can have a significant impact on the health of individuals, their families and their communities. These disorders are among the top conditions that cause disability and carry a high burden of disease in the United States, resulting in significant costs to families, employers and publicly funded health systems. By 2020, mental health and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide (SAMHSA, 2014). In addition, drug and alcohol use can lead to chronic diabetes and heart disease. Addressing the impact of substance use alone is estimated to cost Americans more than $600 billion each year.

Preventing mental health/substance use disorders and related problems in children, adolescents and young adults are critical to Americans’ behavioral and physical health. Behaviors
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