A national and international problem. Drug use and abuse impacts the nation and the world. The public health dimensions of a world-wide drug use and abuse problem provide insight into our experience in West Virginia:
"According to [the World Health Organization’s] WHO’s latest estimates for 2015, psychoactive drug use is responsible for more than 450,000 deaths per year. The drug-attributable disease burden accounts for about 1.5% of the global burden of disease, and injecting drug use accounts for an estimated 30% of new HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa and contributes significantly to the epidemics of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in all regions."1
Nationally, the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy, a research center based at The George Washington University Medical Center, states that substance use problems are among the most common and costly health conditions affecting Americans today, with over 21 million adults meeting the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence, illicit drug abuse or dependence, or prescription pain medication abuse or dependence.
The people of West Virginia are affected by these same costly physical and behavioral health conditions that exist throughout the country and the world, and we have balanced concern with hope and action.1 Excerpt from the WHO Executive Board meeting document EB/140 prepared on November 28, 2016 in preparation for the upcoming January 2017 meeting of WHO.