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Addiction Statistics

Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people. It’s important to know the facts about addiction to better understand how specific substances can impact your life. Most importantly, the statistics on addiction show that if you’re struggling with addiction or you know someone who is, you are certainly not alone.

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Statistics on Addiction in America

Whether it’s a problem with alcohol, opioids, cocaine, or any other substance, addiction kills thousands of Americans every year and impacts millions of lives. Addiction is a mental disorder which compels someone to repeatedly use substances or engage in behaviors even though they have harmful consequences. Addictions destroy marriages, friendships, and careers and threaten a person’s basic health and safety.

  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.
  • Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990.
  • From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from overdosing on a drug.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year.
  • In 2017, 34.2 million Americans committed DUI, 21.4 million under the influence of alcohol and 12.8 million under the influence of drugs.
  • About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.
  • More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old.
  • Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to use addictive drugs.

Statistics on Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

Alcohol is the most widely-abused substance in the United States, yet alcoholism is often left untreated. Alcohol addiction is detrimental to a person’s physical, mental and social wellbeing.

  • Every year, worldwide, alcohol is the cause of 5.3% of deaths (or 1 in every 20).
  • About 300 million people throughout the world have an alcohol use disorder.
  • On average, 30 Americans die every day in an alcohol-related car accident, and six Americans die every day from alcohol poisoning.
  • About 88,000 people die as a result of alcohol every year in the United States.
  • About 6% of American adults (about 15 million people) have an alcohol use disorder, but only about 7% of Americans who are addicted to alcohol ever receive treatment.
  • Men between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to binge drink and become alcoholics.
  • In 2017, approximately 2.3 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 and 2.4 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 started to drink alcohol.
  • In 2018, a historically-low percentage of American high school students reported drinking alcohol. Only 18% of 10th graders and 30% of 12th graders admitted to drinking underage in 2018 compared to 25% of 10th graders and 39% of 12th graders in 2013.

Statistics on Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Opioids are a class of drugs which block sensations of pain and cause euphoria. They are dangerous because they pose very high risks for addiction and overdose. Opioids are an ingredient in many pain-relieving medications. Since they are controlled substances, drug traffickers also sell them illegally. Opioids, both illegal and prescribed, have caused a surge of deaths in the United States in the past two decades.

  • About 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • From 1999 to 2017, 399,230 Americans lost their lives to opioids.
  • In 2017 alone, 47,600 fatal overdoses occurred in America which involved at least one opioid.
  • In 2017, doctors issued 191,218,272 opioid prescriptions, a slight decline from the 200,000,000 opioid prescriptions which they issued every year from 2006 to 2016.
  • Since 1999, the sale of opioid painkillers has skyrocketed by 300%.
  • About 20% to 30% of people who take prescription opioids misuse them.
  • 2 million Americans misused prescription opioids for the first time in 2017.
  • About 10% of people who misuse prescription opioids become addicted to opioids.
  • Approximately 2.1 million Americans have an opioid use disorder.
  • About 5% of people with an opioid use disorder will try heroin.

Statistics on Heroin Addiction and Abuse

Heroin is a powerful and addictive opioid. It is an illegal drug which poses serious risks for overdose. Heroin, especially heroin mixed with fentanyl, has been a major contributor to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

  • About 494,000 Americans over the age of 12 are regular heroin users.
  • In 2017, 886,000 Americans used heroin at least once.
  • About 25% of people who try heroin will become addicted.
  • In 2017, 81,000 Americans tried heroin for the first time.
  • Over 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose in 2017.

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Statistics on Marijuana Addiction and Abuse

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug which comes from the THC-bearing cannabis plant. It is becoming increasingly legal throughout the United States, both for medicine and for recreation, but it’s still not completely safe because it may be addictive and cause health problems.

  • About 30-40 million Americans smoke marijuana every year.
  • About 43% of American adults admit to trying marijuana.
  • In 2017, 1.2 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 and 525,000 Americans over the age of 26 used marijuana for the first time.
  • In 2018, 13% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 35% of 12th graders had used marijuana at least once in the past year. Less than 1% of 8th graders, about 3% of 10th graders, and about 5% of 12th graders reported using it every day.
  • About 30% of people who regularly use marijuana have a marijuana use disorder.
  • The average batch of marijuana in 1990 contained less than 4% THC, but that percentage has since risen to over 12%. The average batch of marijuana has become more powerful.

Statistics on Tobacco Addiction and Abuse

In most states, anyone over the age of 18 can easily purchase a box of cigarettes. Although cigarettes are legal and accessible, they cause a variety of fatal health conditions and they are also addictive.

  • About 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes.
  • The percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes has decreased from 21% in 2005 to 14% in 2017.
  • About 16% of American men and about 12% of American women smoke cigarettes.
  • People who are disabled, live below the poverty line, or lack a college education are more likely to smoke cigarettes.
  • In 2017, about 604,000 Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 and about 1.2 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 21 smoked their first cigarette.
  • Smoking cigarettes is the cause of over 480,000 deaths every year in the United States.

Statistics on Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant. Whether it comes in the form of powder or crystal (commonly called “crack”), cocaine can damage organs, provoke mental disorders, and cause respiratory failure. Cocaine is also highly addictive. Some cocaine users may become addicted after using the drug only once.

  • About 5 million Americans are regular cocaine users.
  • In 2017, 2.2 million Americans used cocaine at least once the previous month.
  • Cocaine was involved in 1 out of every 5 overdose deaths in 2017.
  • The percentage of cocaine-related overdose deaths increased by 34% from 2016 to 2017.
  • Americans between the ages of 18 to 25 use cocaine more than any other age group.
  • In 2017, 1 million Americans above the age of 12 used cocaine for the first time.
  • In 2018, almost 4% of 12th graders admitted to having used cocaine at least once in their lives.

Statistics on Methamphetamine Addiction and Abuse

Methamphetamine, which is commonly called meth, is a controlled substance which has a high potential for abuse, overdose, and addiction. As an illegal drug, meth is usually sold as “crystal” (white rocks or fragments) to be burned and smoked. Meth is highly addictive and dangerous for a person’s health.

  • About 774,000 Americans are regular meth users. About 16,000 of them are between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • About 10,000 Americans who regularly used meth suffered a fatal overdose in 2017.
  • About 964,000 Americans are addicted to meth.
  • In 2017, about 195,000 Americans used meth for the first time.
  • The number of fatal meth overdoses almost tripled from 2011 to 2016.

Statistics on Hallucinogen Addiction and Abuse

Hallucinogens are a category of mind-altering drugs. Psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, mescaline, LSD, PCP, ketamine, Ecstasy, and salvia are all hallucinogenic drugs.  They are all illegal and they all carry risks for traumatizing hallucinations, impaired judgment, and addiction.

  • About 1.4 million people in the United States are regular hallucinogen users. About 143,000 of them are minors between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • In 2017, 1.2 million Americans, including 344,000 minors between the ages of 12 and 17, used a hallucinogen for the first time.
  • In 2018, 2% of 12th graders admitted to trying a hallucinogen at least once in their lives.

Statistics on Inhalant Addiction and Abuse

Inhalants are a group of solvents, gases, and aerosol sprays which people inhale to get high. Inhalants are household objects like nail polish, glue, hair spray, and leather cleaner, but they can have mind-altering effects. “Huffing” inhalants can cause a person to lose consciousness or develop addiction.

  • More than 23 million Americans have tried an inhalant at least once in their lives.
  • About 556,000 Americans are regular inhalant users.
  • Almost 9% of 12th graders in 2018 reported using an inhalant.
  • Inhalants contribute to about 15% of deaths by suffocation every year.

Get Help for Addiction Today

Addiction to anything is a serious problem. If you leave addiction untreated, it could stop your life in its tracks. Fortunately, there are many rehab facilities and recovery centers throughout the country where anyone can get the treatment they need to achieve sobriety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and you need more information about what to do and where to go, please contact a dedicated treatment provider today.

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