President Donald Trump declared September to be National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, though we all know fighting these insidious dangers to society will take longer than a month.

Drug and alcohol abuse statistics are woefully outdated on most websites, but the president put the number of Americans who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs at more than 20 million, rightly noting that “countless more lives have been touched as a consequence of substance abuse.”

A statistic from 2015 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, indicates that America is the leading nation, with the highest drug death rate. Vermont reportedly has the worst drug problem; the state with the highest drug use in 2017, so far, is the District of Columbia.

The statistics of drug overdose deaths are quite shocking and on the rise, tragically. America’s history with drugs is legendary, and a factor in every war possible, and not just because of war injuries.

The first legislation against drug abuse in America was in 1875, to give you an idea of what a long, hard road it’s been. In 2016, there were more than 59,000 overdose deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times. We’re still waiting for the official report of drug overdose deaths by state for 2016 and 2017, because it takes time to provide such detailed data.

Here are some shocking details from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism regarding today’s youth:

  • In 2013, of the 72,559 liver disease deaths among individuals ages 12 and older, 45.8 percent involved alcohol. Among males, 48.5 percent of the 46,568 liver disease deaths involved alcohol. Among females, 41.8 percent of the 25,991 liver disease deaths involved alcohol.30
  • Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2013, 47.9 percent were alcohol related. The proportion of alcohol-related cirrhosis was highest (76.5 percent) among deaths of persons ages 25–34, followed by deaths of persons aged 35–44, at 70.0 percent.31
  • In 2009, alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States.32

Below is a copy of President Trump’s proclamation:

NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH, 2017

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we stand with the millions of Americans in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, and reaffirm our commitment to support those who are struggling with addiction, and their families and loved ones.  Substance abuse robs Americans of their potential, shatters their families, and tears apart our communities.  My Administration is committed to lifting our Nation from this tragic reality.

Substance addiction affects people of every class, creed, and color.  More than 20 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, and countless more lives have been touched as a consequence of substance abuse.

Together, however, we can fight drug and alcohol abuse.  This month, we emphasize to all those suffering that recovery is possible.  My Administration is taking a proactive approach to support State and local communities as they work on the front lines to prevent substance use and addiction and to promote recovery.  To date, we have dedicated more than $500 million to strengthening prevention programs, expanding access to evidence based addiction treatment, and building networks of recovery support services across our Nation.  And earlier this year, I established the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to help guide the Federal Government’s response to drug abuse and drug addiction, with a particular focus on the opioid epidemic that is currently afflicting our country.

Solving our Nation’s drug and alcohol problems requires both a strong public health response and a strong public safety response that stems the flow of illicit drugs into our communities.  I have, therefore, requested $2.6 billion in my 2018 budget proposal for border security and infrastructure that will improve our ability to protect Americans and the homeland from the dangers of drug trafficking.

During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and throughout the year, let us remember those who have bravely conquered their addiction.  We also pray for those currently suffering so they may, through effective treatment and the strength of family and friends, transform their lives.  Finally, let us also thank the family members, friends, and healthcare providers who provide much-needed assistance, encouragement, and love to support Americans in recovery.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2017 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP