Demi Lovato Says Addiction In America Is An ‘Epidemic’, Is She Right?

It’s no secret that Demi Lovato struggled with addiction and even had to take a break from her music. Now the “Confident,” singer is speaking out about the issue with addiction in America, which according to her is an epidemic. After intense rehab in 2010 to kick her addiction to cocaine, Demi Lovato is well versed in the statistics of addiction and how it becomes a precursor for other addictions and ultimately mental illness.

“I am one of the 1 in 7 people who has faced addiction, and I am grateful to be in recovery today. It’s time for us all to reflect, and start facing addiction.”

How accurate is Demi Lovato‘s Instagram outcry? According to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, Lovato is dead on. Based on the most up-to-date data, addiction costs the United States a lot of money. As of August 2015, tobacco use costs an average of $160 billion per year and is followed by alcohol, which costs about $25 billion. Illicit drugs like the cocaine that Demi Lovato found herself victim to, costs America about $11 billion each year.

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For Demi Lovato, her battle with addiction was not limited to the constant craving for cocaine. Additionally Lovato suffered a serious depression, which lead to an eating disorder and body mutilation according to People magazine. With Demi’s personal addiction experience in mind, she went on to help others who were struggling.

Demi Lovato is not simply speaking out about the apparent addiction epidemic, but has actually been making strides to reform the issue. Since becoming addicted to cocaine at the mere age of 18, Lovato has actually taken her concerns to Capitol Hill. There Demi launched forums for victims of addiction to speak openly about addiction and mental illness in America. To start off the much needed conversation about addiction in America, Demi Lovato first spoke out in 2013 in an interview with USA Today that revealed just how serious Demi’s addiction to cocaine was.

“I couldn’t go 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine and I would bring it on airplanes. I would smuggle it basically and just wait until everyone in first class would go to sleep and I would do it right there. I’d sneak to the bathroom and I’d do it…. And that was even with somebody with me, I had a sober companion, somebody who was watching me 24/7 and living with me and I was able to hide it from them as well.”

To fight an addiction, people need a strong support system and Demi Lovato was no exception when she decided to end her relationship with cocaine. Lovato credits her longtime boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama for helping her become sober and stay that way. Thanks to her boyfriend’s support, Demi Lovato has been sober for three years. Still, Demi fights through her mental illness and believes that it is more than possible to live a happy and healthy life even if you suffer from mental illness. Lovato made this very clear in May when she admitted to finding her own happiness while having a mental disease.

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“I’m living well with my mental illness – I am actually functioning like a very happy person would. I couldn’t be happier today. Life is really, really great.”

[Feature image via Taylor Hill/Getty Images]