Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including productivity and health- and crime-related costs exceed $600 billion annually (National Drug Intelligence Center 2011). This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs, $193 billion for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol. In the USA, the root cause for 25 % of the total deaths can be attributed to substance abuse (Kochanek et al. 2011). The most commonly used drug among American youth is alcohol. Alcohol, the most commonly used drug among American teenagers, kills youth 6.5 times more often than other drugs of abuse (Rehm et al. 2009). And in the larger population, a death toll of nearly 10,000 can be attributed to chronic alcohol abuse within a timeframe of 1 year. Drug consumption of all types generally begins during adolescence; by 13 years of age, over 30 % of teens report having used at least one illicit substance (www.monitoringthefuture.org). As staggering as these numbers are, they do not fully describe the breadth of destructive public health and safety implications of substance abuse, such as family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, and child abuse, as well as the association of substance abuse with risky sex, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, and cancer.
Advancing transdisciplinary translation for prevention of high-risk behaviors
introduction to the special issue