Since 2001, the United States has been developing a very expensive drug habit. Opioids. These gateway drugs to heroin abuse have taken an estimated 1 trillion dollar hit to our nation's budget over the past seventeen years. Money, of course, is the least of our worries when talking about drugs. It's the lives, families, and communities that addictive chemicals affect that are of the utmost importance.
Approximately 200,000 Americans have died due to prescription opiate abuse, since 2001. On average 115 Americans die due to opioid addiction every day. In other words, roughly 5 people every hour, or 1 person every twenty minutes. We can not allow ourselves to think of these statistics as just numbers, or expenses, because these are our neighbors. It's the continued responsibility of community organizations, like YouthZone, to address the underlying causes, such as trauma, for this unacceptable overdose rate. By continuing to support YouthZone's cause you're also supporting substance use recovery.
Fortunately a large majority of our clients that are experimenting with drugs are not using opioids, if there're any at all. Typically the clients that we see are using Marijuana and Alcohol, at rates of 45% and 55% respectively. Of this total, roughly a quarter are dependent or habitual users. The biggest issue with Marijuana use at a young age deals with brain development, which doesn't stop until the age of 25. Drugs and alcohol have the potential to negatively impact your teens reading and math ability if their use begins at a young age.
Luckily 80% of Colorado's High School students don't use Marijuana, but for the 20% that do, YouthZone has group and individual drug counseling sessions. By talking about these issues we can come to healthy solutions without demonizing our children.
When discussing such sensitive topics it's extremely important, to YouthZone, that we approach solutions from a supportive place. We are not here to judge. We are not here to punish. YouthZone is solely here to help you and your child address, and overcome, the root issues related to drug and alcohol use.