Risk for Substance Abuse

The United States of America is currently undergoing the worst addiction crisis ever to affect the nation.  Also, we are facing the troubling issue of young diabetic’s risk for substance abuse.

According to the agreed-upon analysis and conclusion of the CDC, NIDA, NIAAA, NSDUH, and SAMHSA:

The United States has now reached the level of experiencing a clinical epidemic, as it pertains to drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, and substance abuse in general and all that goes along with that.
The nation has never reached a level wherein substance abuse was an epidemic.  A crisis, maybe, but not an epidemic.  This certainly seems to be the case today, and now it would appear that pretty much anyone can get addicted to almost anything.  Case in point, a new study revealed that young adults who have diabetes are now at much higher risk for substance abuse and addiction than their non-diabetic peers are.

Young Diabetic’s Risk for Substance Abuse

Young people with diabetes are, statistically speaking, four times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health or substance abuse treatment than those who are free of the disease according to a recent study by the Health Care Cost Institute that was analyzed by Kaiser Health News.

This study found that current hospitalization rates for 19 to 25 year-olds suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders were in fact 68% higher in 2014 than they were just two years before.  The issue crept up on them, and it crept up fast enough that the medical field and the substance abuse prevention departments are still scrambling to catch up with it.

One senior researcher at the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) made a statement to the Kaiser group that the impending rise may be due to more young people utilizing services under the Affordable Care Act, which allows children to stay on their parents’ medical insurance until they turn 26 years old.  It eliminated insurance discrimination between them, whereas before they could not stay on the insurance for nearly quite as long.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there was a big jump in employer-sponsored coverage for young adults aged 14 to 26, many of whom legitimately had diabetes, but who were using their parents’ health insurance to get prescription drugs that they could get high off of, not just for diabetes medications.  This was found out in the year of 2014, and the situation has only gotten worse and even more prevalent since then.

How does this come about?  Why do young adults with diabetes seek out other drugs in such higher numbers than their non-diabetic peers?  Managing diabetes is quite often very stressful for young people.  We’re talking about teens and young adults in their twenties who must continuously monitor their blood sugar levels and carbohydrate intake, and be mindful of the medications that they need to take.  This can put a real damper on the life of youth, and since they already have such easy access to medications, it makes it easy for them to start abusing other prescription drugs too, as they are already on the verge of the mindset needed to do so already.

How to Help Our Diabetic Youth Remain Drug-Free

As if that wasn’t reason enough, increasing medical costs are a significant buzzkill for anyone with a chronic disease.  This creates depression, constant worry, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, nervous hysteria, and all other kinds of unpleasant emotions.  For example, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), found that per capita spending on people with diabetes reached $16,021 per person in the year of 2014, almost $10,000 more per person than for people who did not have diabetes.  The same study found that people with diabetes spent two-and-a-half times more out of pocket than those without diabetes.  So, not only do you have a young adult who has to suffer from diabetes, but he or she also has to watch his or her parents shell out loads of money on the medical condition.  This makes matters worse for them, and can only serve to inspire them to turn to self-medicating with prescription drugs to “make them feel better.”

We must be more mindful of the youth of the nation that suffers from diabetes and their risk for substance abuse.  We can’t just treat them like regular adults who have the same condition.  Extra care needs to be allotted to them, and we also need to pay closer attention to them to ensure that they are managing the condition to the best of their abilities and that any help that they might need is provided to them.

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when help is so close.

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