Substance Use and Associated Health Conditions throughout the Lifespan
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
This is a scientific report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information
Substance use is a major public health concern that affects every level of society. Individuals, families, communities, and overall government spending is impacted by the use of licit and illicit substances. Recent reports estimated that annual costs in the United States are approximately USD $193 billion for illicit drug use,1 USD $223 billion for excessive alcohol use,2 and USD $193 billion for tobacco use.3 These costs include lost wages and productivity, criminal activity, and healthcare expenses. The economic burden aside, public health efforts can benefit from a better understanding of the impact of substance use disorder (SUD) on physical and mental health. Particularly, examining SUDs and the constellation of associated health and mental health problems throughout the lifespan provides a full picture of how variations in drug use patterns and outcomes shift with age, on which the present article will focus.