Excessive alcohol and illicit drug use are problems that every industrialized country struggles with, albeit they all go about it in different ways. While many argue about which measures are most effective from one country to the next, it turns out that some countries are doing better in the fight against addiction.
So, how does the United States compare to the rest of the western world? The easy answer is, ‘not that well’! Using data from the United Nations, a group of treatment professionals worked to create a series of maps to compare drug and alcohol use in the United States to European countries. The findings showed that Americans overwhelmingly lead the way in opioid and amphetamine-type stimulant use. The United States has the most people in substance use disorder treatment and we have the highest rate of overdose deaths per year.
Interestingly, the U.S. did not even make the top five when it came to the availability of substance abuse treatment. America tied with Spain for the most cocaine used, and we came in second (per capita) for marijuana use. However, with Amsterdam considered to be a marijuana mecca, the Netherlands failed to make the top five.
The data gathered showed that America is in the top five for almost every national measure of drug abuse. Europe, on the other hand, has a long history with alcohol which may be why countries in the EU top the charts for alcohol use in the last year. America, did not make the top five for once, sitting somewhere in the middle. Norwegians came in first, with the most alcohol consumed per capita; with the stereotypical hard-drinking Irish ranking fifth.
This data and mapping help experts determine what policies are working, and which are not. It should help us develop more effective measures going forward.
If you or a loved one is living with addiction, please contact Pace Recovery Center.