The office of the U.S. surgeon general defines substance use disorders as “medical illness[es] caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances, characterized by clinically significant impairments in health [and] social function, and impaired control over substance use, and diagnosed through assessing cognitive, behavioral, and psychological symptoms.”1 They are neurobiological disorders that involve a complex interplay between genetics and environment, and they are often effectively treated.
The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 10% of Americans over age 11 have alcohol use disorders.2 More than 20% of Americans age 12 and older use marijuana or illicit drugs.2 Approximately 5.8% of Americans misuse prescription drugs, while 3.4% misuse opioid drugs.2 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 12.5% of American adults are current smokers,3 while 2.3% use smokeless tobacco products.4 Misuse of all these substances varies with respect to the prevalence of use and use disorders — each has different risk factors, associated health risks, treatment modalities, and treatment outcomes.
Cardiovascular disease is an active area of study for Kaiser Permanente Research. Scientists across the organization have used our rich, comprehensive, longitudinal data to advance knowledge in the areas of understanding risk, improving patient outcomes, and translating research findings into policy and practice.
We have published more than 1,800 articles related to CVD since 2007.5 Together, these articles have been cited over 92,000 times. These articles are the product of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists.
Our unique environment — a fully integrated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — enables us to contribute important knowledge about CVD, and many other research topics.