CHICAGO (WLS) -- October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Last year, reported drug overdose deaths hit a new high in the U.S.
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More than 93,000 people died. According to the Partnership to End Addiction, 2021 could be even worse.
Studies show that the earlier someone starts smoking, drinking or using other drugs, the more likely they are to develop an addiction.
And addiction does not discriminate, said Marcia Lee Taylor, chief external and government relations officer with the Partnership to End Addiction.
"I think we need to have a really open conversation about that because we tend to think of people who fall prey to addiction as sort of 'the other,' when really, it's all of us. There's hardly anyone in this country who doesn't know someone who has struggled with addiction or who is currently struggling with addiction," she said.
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It's often referred to as a "family disease."
"There are really difficult dynamics often times with substance use," said Taylor. "They can tear a family apart. And you see your loved one literally at risk of death on a regular basis. And it's terrifying for families because they often times don't know how to help. They don't know where to turn and unlike other diseases, there's a lot of anger and yelling and slammed doors."
The Partnership to End Addiction provides support to families, both on their website Drugfree.org, or people can seek assistance by texting "Connect" to 55753.