What is Addiction?

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 What is Addiction?

Addiction is a term often used to describe or define substance dependence. Many people may use these terms interchangeably with substance abuse.
According to the American Psychological Association (2000), the term substance dependence indicates “that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance related problems” (p. 192).[1]
 
Addiction affects the majority of Oklahomans in some aspect of their lives. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services (2011)[2] asserts that:
Substance abuse is the number one public health problem in Oklahoma and nationally. The economic cost is staggering, estimated at nearly $7 billion annually in Oklahoma and $414 billion nationwide. Annual costs of substance abuse in Oklahoma are nearly $2 billion for expenses related to health care, public safety, social services, costs to business, and property loss. Another $5 billion in costs is related to lost productivity. In Oklahoma, drug and alcohol addiction contributes to 85 percent of all homicides, 80 percent of all prison incarcerations, 75 percent of all divorces, 65 percent of all child abuse cases, 55 percent of all domestic assaults, 50 percent of all traffic fatalities, 35 percent of all rapes, and 33 percent of all suicides.
The ODMHSAS estimates that nearly 140,000 Oklahomans over age 18--about 5 percent of the population--need treatment for alcohol addiction. Another 1 percent--about 21,000 people--need treatment for other types of drug addiction. Nearly 6 percent of the state's 323,000 adolescents--approximately 20,000 teenagers--need treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Statewide, alcohol addiction surpasses drug addiction by an average of 7.5 to one, meaning that for every person needing drug treatment, more than seven people need alcohol treatment.
Furthermore, our State Corrections Department and State Bureau of Investigation reflect concerns with alcohol and drug problems as evidenced by their high number of individuals with substance abuse-related arrests and/or sentences. Specifically, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (2008)[3] states:
As of June 30, 2008, there were 25,297 inmates, 27,297 probation clients and 3,755 parole clients under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.38
Approximately 17.5% of the inmates on June 30, 2008 were incarcerated for distributing a controlled substance and 13.3% were incarcerated for possession/obtaining a controlled substance.39
As of June 30, 2008, there were 2,328 inmates under Oklahoma Department of Corrections supervision who were in substance abuse treatment programs. An additional 1,169 were assigned to the Therapeutic Community. 
Moreover, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations reveals that
  • 22,324 arrests in 2007 were for drug abuse violations;
  • 9.1% were 18 years of age or younger;
  • 53.0% of these arrests were for Possession of Marijuana;
  • 5.7% of these arrests were for Sale of Marijuana;
  • 12.5% of these arrests were for Possession of Opium, Cocaine and Derivatives;
  • 2.3% of these arrests were for Sale of Opium, Cocaine and Derivatives;
  • and
  • 28.9% of all arrests in 2007 were alcohol related;
  • These include driving under the influence, drunkenness, and other liquor law violations;
  • 45,226 were adults and 1,661 were juveniles;
  • 53.9% of arrests made for all alcohol related offenses occurred in the category of drunkenness.

[1] American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
[2] Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. (2011). Frequently asked questions: Substance abuse. Retrieved from http://www.ok.gov/odmhsas/faqs.html
[3] Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. (2007). State of Oklahoma Uniform Crime Report: Annual Report January-December 2007 [PDF Report]. Retrieved from http://www.ok.gov/osbi/documents/2007%20UCR%20Report.pdf