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Examining how addiction in the U.S. has changed over the last decade

The San Jose Mercury News has an interesting Q&A with Stanford's Keith Humphreys, PhD, on how addiction in the United States has changed over the past 10 years. In the piece, Humphreys discusses which substances have increased and decreased in use, shifts in addiction demographics and measures to curb addiction in America.

On the topic of which groups are experiencing an uptick in addiction rates, he says:

One new group is young veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Relative to veterans of prior wars, they include far more women and are more likely to be addicted to prescription drugs, particularly pain medication.

In the general population, young women are drinking far more than women of prior generations.

There is a stereotype that African-Americans are particularly likely to use drugs. In fact, methamphetamine and powder cocaine are overwhelmingly consumed by Caucasians. African-Americans also have the highest rate of complete abstention from alcohol, which is also a drug, even though we often don't think of it as one.

Previously: A discussion of the history and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, Do opium and opioids increase mortality risk? and Better than the real thing: How drugs hot wire our brains’ reward circuitry

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