A September 2014 state report showed Wisconsin alcohol and drug abuse rates since 2000 have been among the highest in the nation. More people who admittedly drink and drive and binge drinkers reside in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the country. Drug-related fatalities statewide increased nearly 100 percent between 2004 and 2012.
Wisconsin alcohol-related arrest rates have been triple the nationwide average. Arrests for drug crimes, once low compared to the national average, remained consistent statewide in recent years as U.S. rates declined.
Nearly 53 percent of the U.S. population, 12 and older, use alcohol according to a 2014 survey by federal health officials. Twenty-seven million people, more than 10 percent of the population, used illegal drugs in the month prior to the survey. Over 21 million users were dependent upon and impaired by these substances – 2.6 million had disorders involving upon both alcohol and drugs.
The federal survey tracked substance use and abuse trends between 2002 and 2014. Illegal drug use nationwide was higher in 2014 than during all previous years. Researchers estimated that over 22 million people used marijuana in 2014 and another 4.3 million abused prescription painkillers.
Researchers estimated that over 139 million people nationwide drank alcohol in 2014. Nearly 61 million were binge drinkers and over 16 million were heavy users. Among alcohol users, ages 18 and 25, about 10 percent used alcohol heavily and one-third binged on alcohol.
It is interesting to note the government used the same report to calculate the prevalence of mental illness among Americans. More than 18 percent of adult survey respondents, representing over 43 million people, reported mental health issues. The report did not state what percentage of mentally ill adults were also alcohol or illegal drug users.
Substance abuse can cause serious personal, professional and legal problems. When possible, defense attorneys mitigate serious consequences for individuals accused of drug and alcohol-related crimes.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” accessed Sep. 16, 2015