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Addiction Statistics

Addiction is a nationwide problem which affects the lives of thousands of Americans. Learn more about some statistics behind addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Statistics On Drug And Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is a disorder which poses serious risks for a person’s health, wellbeing, and social standing. Alcohol and other drugs inflict addiction on thousands of Americans. Life with addiction is difficult, and a substance use disorder may cause health problems, job loss, strained relationships, criminal behavior, and violence. If you or someone you know struggles with a substance use disorder, the facts about addiction prove that no one is alone. With the help of a professional rehab program, anyone can take the steps necessary for achieving sobriety. The following are statistics about addiction and substance abuse in the United States.

  • Almost 21 million Americans struggle with addiction to at least one substance.
  • More than 700,000 Americans died from a drug overdose from 1999 to 2017.
  • In 2018, at least 68,000 fatal overdoses occurred in the United States.
  • The number of fatal drug overdoses in America has more than tripled since 1990.
  • Every year, substance abuse the U.S. economy over $600 billion.
  • In 2017, 34.2 million Americans operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • There is a strong correlation between addiction and mental illness. About 30% of Americans with a mental illness also live with addiction. More specifically, about 20% of Americans with depression or an anxiety disorder will develop an addiction, and people with bipolar disorder are 5 times more likely than someone without bipolar disorder to have a substance use problem.
  • More than 90% of people with an addiction start to drink alcohol or use drugs before they reach the age of 18 years old.
  • Only 10% of Americans who have an addiction ever receive treatment.
  • Every dollar spent on addiction rehab yields $7 in savings for the U.S. economy.

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Alcohol Addiction Statistics

In the United States and throughout the world, alcohol is the most commonly-abused addictive substance. Whether it’s beer, wine, or liquor, alcohol is a toxic depressant which can damage a person’s brain, heart, liver, and other organs. Tragically, many people who struggle with alcoholism never access rehab.

  • About 300 million people worldwide have an alcohol use disorder.
  • About 15 million Americans struggle with alcoholism.
  • Alcohol causes about 88,000 Americans to die every year.
  • An average of 30 Americans lose their lives every day in an alcohol-related car accident.
  • An average of six Americans die every day from alcohol poisoning.
  • Heavy drinking and alcoholism cost the United States over $223 billion annually.
  • Approximately 2.4 million young adults in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 years old started to drink alcohol in 2017. An additional 2.3 million minors between the ages of 12 and 17 years old in the United States started to drink alcohol that same year.
  • In 2017, 26% of Americans aged 18 years or older admitted to binge drinking in the past month.
  • In 2018, 28% of college students and 14% of 12th graders admitted to binge drinking.
  • 21.4 million Americans committed DUI under the influence of alcohol in 2017.
  • The percentages of American students who reported drinking alcohol fell in 2018, with 8% of 8th graders, 18% of 10th graders, and 30% of 12th graders reporting alcohol consumption in the previous month.  By contrast,  10% of 8th graders,  25% of 10th graders, and 39% of 12th graders in 2013 reported drinking alcohol within the previous month.
  • Only about 7% of Americans with an alcohol use disorder ever receive treatment. On a global scale, an alcohol-related illness, injury, murder, or suicide is the cause of 5.3% (or 1 in every 20) deaths every year.

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

Marijuana is a popular medicinal and recreational drug. Marijuana originates in the Cannabis plant, whose leaves contain the psychoactive chemical THC. Marijuana may cause health complications and dependence disorders, even though it has become legal in many states.

  • Every year, about 30-40 million Americans smoke Marijuana. About 30% of people who use Marijuana regularly exhibit the symptoms of addiction.
  • About 43% of American adults admit to trying Marijuana at least once in their lives.
  • On average, Marijuana today contains more THC than Marijuana in the past. In 1990, Marijuana contained less than 4% THC, but today Marijuana contains over 12% THC.
  • Among American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old,  1.2 million used Marijuana for the first time in 2017.
  • In 2018, 13% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 35% of 12th graders reported using Marijuana in the past year, while 1% of 8th graders, 3% of 10th graders, and 5% of 12th graders reported using it every day.
  • The majority of high school students who smoke Marijuana also vape THC oil or other cannabis concentrates, which are more potent than standard Marijuana. 15% of American 12th graders admitted to vaping Marijuana in 2018.

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Opioid Addiction Statistics

Opioids are powerful drugs which originate naturally in the Opium poppy plant. Opioids interact with the brain’s opioid receptors to block sensations of pain and cause sedation. Although doctors prescribe Opioids as painkillers, Opioids are highly addictive and easily cause overdoses. The proliferation of legal, prescription Opioids and illegal, counterfeit Opioid painkillers have caused an addiction and overdose epidemic in America which has lasted two decades and remains ongoing.

  • The manufacture and sale of prescription Opioids has increased by 300% since 1999.
  • Medical professionals wrote 200,000,000 or more Opioid prescriptions every year from 2006 to 2016. They wrote slightly fewer prescriptions, 191,218,272, in 2017.
  • From 1999 to 2017, Opioids caused the deaths of 399,230 Americans..
  • In 2017, 2 million Americans misused prescription Opioids for the first time.
  • The year 2017 broke the record for the most fatal drug overdoses to ever occur in the United States, at over 70,000 overdoses nationwide. The majority of those overdoses, 47,600, involved at least one Opioid.
  • About 20% to 30% of people who use prescription Opioids misuse them, and about 10% subsequently develop an Opioid addiction.
  • About 2.1 million Americans struggle with an Opioid use disorder.
  • On average, about 130 Americans die from an Opioid overdose every day.

Heroin Addiction Statistics

Heroin is an illegal Opioid. Unlike most Opioids, Heroin is exclusively a recreational drug. Heroin is highly likely to cause addiction and overdose.

  • About 494,000 Americans regularly use Heroin.
  • About 886,000 Americans used heroin at least once in 2017.
  • Approximately 5% of people with an Opioid addiction experiment with Heroin.
  • About 25% of people who experiment with Heroin develop a Heroin use disorder.
  • 81,000 Americans tried heroin for the first time in 2017.
  • In 2017, over 15,000 Americans died from a Heroin overdose.
  • In 2018, 0.6% of American 8th graders, 0.4% of 10th graders, and 0.8% of 12th graders had used Heroin at least once.

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

Cocaine is an addictive Stimulant drug. Cocaine can aggravate mental disorders, impair breathing, and cause heart attacks. Both powder and “crack” Cocaine are illegal and dangerous. Some people develop a Cocaine addiction after trying Cocaine only once or twice.

  • About 5 million Americans are use Cocaine regularly.
  • The percentage of Cocaine-related fatal overdoses increased by 34% from 2016 to 2017.
  • In 2017, 2.2 million Americans reported using Cocaine at least once within the previous month.
  • In 2017, Cocaine was a factor in 20% of all fatal overdose.
  • In 2017, 1 million Americans above the age of 12 years old tried Cocaine.
  • In 2018, 1.4% of American 8th graders, 2.6% of 10th graders, and 3.9% of 12th graders reported trying Cocaine at least once.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Statistics

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants. Doctors commonly prescribe Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium as medications for anxiety and sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines pose moderate risks for dependence, and they can provoke overdoses when combined with other drugs.

  • About 5% of the population of the United States regularly uses at least one Benzodiazepine.
  • About 17% of regular Benzodiazepine users have misused Benzodiazepines, but less than 2% exhibit symptoms of Benzodiazepine dependence.
  • From 1996 to 2013, the number of Americans who filled prescriptions for Benzodiazepines increased by 67%.
  • Benzodiazepine dependence often coincides with other forms of substance abuse. For example, about 20% of Americans with alcoholism also abuse Benzodiazepines.
  • In 2017, about 30% of Opioid-related overdoses also involved a Benzodiazepine.
  • From 1999 to 2017, the number of Benzodiazepine-related overdoses increased from 1,135 to 11,537.

Methamphetamine Addiction Statistics

Methamphetamine is another illegal stimulant drug which poses high risks for abuse, overdose, and addiction. Meth is notorious for its disastrous toll of a person’s mind and body.

  • About 774,000 Americans regularly use Meth.
  • There are 16,000 Meth users between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
  • About 964,000 Americans have a Meth use disorder.
  • About 195,000 Americans tried Meth in 2017.
  • The number of fatal overdoses which involved Meth tripled from 2011 to 2016.
  • A Meth-related overdose killed about 10,000 Americans in 2017.
  • In 19 states, Meth causes more deaths than all Opioids combined, including Fentanyl.
  • In 2018, 0.7% of American 8th grades, 0.8% of 10th graders, and 0.7% of 12th graders admitted to experimenting with Meth.

Hallucinogen Addiction Statistics

Hallucinogens are mind-altering drugs which cause false perceptions of reality and dissociation. Most Hallucinogens are illegal in the United States. The Hallucinogens category of drugs includes Psilocybin Mushrooms, DMT, Mescaline, LSD, PCP, Ketamine, and MDMA (Ecstasy).

  • About 1.4 million people in the United States regularly use Hallucinogens.
  • About 143,000 habitual Hallucinogen users are minors between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
  • In 2017, 1.2 million Americans used a Hallucinogen for the first time.
  • In 2018, 2% of 12th graders reported trying a Hallucinogen.
  • Among 36 developed nations, the United States has the highest proportion of high school students who have ever used a Hallucinogen.

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