(This systematic review of the literature was written in March 2014 by the Site Administrator in partial fulfillment of the Masters of Science in Social Work at the University of Louisville)
In 2010, between 153 million and 300 million people aged 15-64 worldwide used an illicit substance at least once in the previous year (UNODC, 2012). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2013), in America alone, an estimated 23.9 million persons age 12 and older are current illicit drug users. Of these, an estimated 22.2 million persons aged 12 and older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year (SAMHSA, 2013). These numbers raise serious concerns because addiction has far reaching health and social consequences. It is estimated that there were between 99,000 and 253,000 deaths globally in 2010 as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma (such as vehicle accidents) (UNODC, 2012). Additionally, drug abuse leads to maladaptive behaviors that interfere with the individual’s ability to function normally in the family, at work, and in the community at a cost to the nation in excess of $600 billion annually (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012). Given the prevalence of addiction in the population and the toll it takes on individuals and society, the development of effective treatment interventions is of utmost importance.