Mobile County, Ala. (WALA) -- This month, as part of National Substance Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, the Mobile County Health Department will be bringing awareness to the millions of people who suffer with substance abuse issues. And it starts with the opioid crisis.
"Opioids are one of those drugs that we can't afford to overlook. Especially at this age and day because of the number of pill mills that caused the opioid pandemic,” Josh Richardson with Overdose Data to Action program.
Let's look at the statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
"24 percent of people with drug disorders use opioids including prescription pain relivers and heroin. That's over 2 million people.
53 million people over the age of 12 have used illegal drugs or have misused prescription drugs in the past year.
And if you count tobacco and alcohol, 165 million people currently abuse drugs".
Health officials acknowledge that prevention should start at a young age.
"If you can delay or if a person can delay being exposed or being around that environment, then they're less likely to become addicted," said James Currie with the Mobile County Health Department.
"You have peer pressure, friends at school and the need to be accepted. All of that can drive adolescences to try drugs and alcohol,” Richardson said.
If you're struggling with addiction. There are several programs that can help. Here in mobile county, you can contact the overdose data to action program. You can contact them at 251-410-OD2A (6322)