Category Archives: Recovery

What Is The Drug, Marijuana, Pill, & Booze Epidemic Doing To the U.S. Economy?

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, released a final report for the Obama Administration on the state of the health in the United States last fall in which he summarized that alcohol and drug abuse were at an epidemic level and the worst health problem facing this country. I agree. In this report Murthy claims that heroin addiction alone is costing the United States billions of dollars annually in hospitalization, incarceration, and other associated costs.

If heroin alone is costing the United States billions of dollars per year, what is the annual cost of alcoholism, marijuana abuse, methamphetamine use, and pharmaceutical abuse, among other substance abuses? Here are the some of the statistics, which I gathered from a variety of drug abuse websites:

Drug abuse: $193 Billion
Alcohol abuse: $249 Billion
Tobacco use: $295 Billion

Add it all up and it totals at least $737 BILLION a year! We aren’t talking millions – we’re talking billions – and it adds up to a whopping 3/4 of a trillion dollars a year. These are people who are adding to the burden of a government system that is already almost $20 trillion in debt. This means that every 2 years, we add $1.5 trillion to the national debt as the direct result of the substance abusers in our society.

In order to resolve a problem first we must identify the problem. Otherwise we are simply dealing with the symptoms of the problem.

Are You Sober If You Smoke Pot, But Don’t Drink Alcohol?

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring among a very large group of people in the United States who believe they must be loaded on some form of mind altering substance in order to function. In the recovery community there has been a change taking place, in my opinion, over the last ten years in which we have a lot of people who believe they are sober, even though they are smoking marijuana. Are you sober if you don’t drink alcohol, but smoke marijuana? No, you’re not sober.

In order to be sober, you need to make sure you aren’t taking any mind altering substances into your system. Smoking pot gets you loaded. To be sober, you can’t be loaded. I know that sounds like a very easy concept to understand, however there are a lot of people in our society today who don’t get that. They cannot comprehend the concept of getting and staying 100% sober.

To be able to claim you are 100% sober you need to abstain from drinking any alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine and hard liquor, abstain from taking street drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, magic mushroom, Ecstasy and similar types of hard drugs, abstain from taking pharmaceuticals unless you are being prescribed the medication by a physician fully aware of your need to stay sober, and not smoke marijuana. If you have a problem with mind altering substances, like 70 million or more of your fellow Americans, then you probably need to get and stay sober, because that is the only way to recover from addiction.

You can’t just be a “little bit sober” and claim sobriety. It is 100% or not at all, so if you are abstaining from other mind altering substances and still smoking pot, please reconsider. It isn’t possible to be sober while high on pot.