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Drug Abuse Statistics

Addiction can affect every group of people, so it’s important to know certain drug abuse statistics to keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Understanding Drug Abuse

Drug addiction statistics show that millions of Americans annually, including children, parents, friends, and co-workers, lose their lives to drug abuse and overdose. Although many of the statistics below are changing constantly, reviewing annual drug abuse statistics helps to highlight some of the common challenges related to substance addiction and drug abuse rehab.

Drug or substance abuse is the term used to describe a problematic and often harmful pattern of substance use that leads to a multitude of problems, including financial, emotional, mental, and physical issues. They may also interfere with family and social relationships and cause problems at work or school.1

Drug Abuse Statistics

Origin of Substance Use Disorders

Substance use disorders do not have a single cause but occur due to a variety of causes and risk factors. Examples of the more common causes of drug abuse include social factors, environmental pressures, genetics, personality characteristics, and co-occurring mental and physical health conditions.

In many cases, it is dangerous to attempt to reduce drug usage due to the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that start after the body starts to detox from the substance. It’s important to undergo detox under medical supervision in order to stay safe and help prevent relapse.

What Are the Signs of Drug Abuse?

The signs of drug abuse look different for everyone. However, some common signs of drug abuse include:

  • Altered behaviors, like the increased desire for privacy, spending more money than usual or asking to borrow money, and poor work or academic performance.
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Significant, unexpected changes in relationships
  • Changes in physical appearances such as bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and disheveled appearance

Understanding Drug Abuse Statistics

Several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Human Services, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, monitor statistics of drug abuse, drug addiction treatment, and drug addiction recovery for a variety of specific drugs.

Opioid Statistics

Opioid abuse statistics in 2020 showed an estimated ten million people over the age of twelve misused opioid drugs in the last year. Of those, 9.7 million specifically abused prescription pain medications.2

Alcohol Statistics

In 2017 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, almost fifteen million Americans aged twelve and over had an alcohol use disorder. This equals more than 5% of the United States population.3

Heroin Statistics

The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that over seven hundred thousand people used heroin in the previous year.

Stimulants Statistics

Statistics on drug addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that approximately sixteen million adults misused prescription stimulants in 2018.4

Meth Statistics

Drug abuse statistics published in 2020 show that almost two million teens and adults had a methamphetamine use disorder in the past twelve months.5

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Prescription pill addiction most commonly includes drugs like opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, benzodiazepines, sedatives, and stimulant drugs. In 2017, statistics on prescription drug abuse showed more than eighteen million people aged twelve and older reported misusing prescription medications in the past twelve months.6

Unfortunately, many who develop a prescription pill addiction do so after being prescribed the medication for a medical need. Some common prescription drugs that are abused include:

  • Opioids include OxyContin, Lortab, Morphine, and Percocet.
  • Stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta.
  • Benzodiazepine (sedatives and tranquilizers) like Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin.

Drug Abuse by Age, State, and Gender

Drug and alcohol abuse statistics show that no demographic is safe from addiction.

Drug Abuse Statistics By Gender

Both genders have unique concerns when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction. Men generally have higher tobacco, alcohol, and illicit substance use rates, along with a higher rate of drug overdose. On the other hand, women typically begin using drugs at a younger age and tend to develop addictions more quickly. Women are also more likely to relapse than men.7

Drug Abuse Statistics By Age

Teenage drug abuse statistics published in 2017 show approximately 4% of adolescents have a substance use disorder. Teen drug abuse statistics also show that early onset teenage drug use increases one’s risk for developing addiction problems later in life.8

Drug Abuse Statistics By State

Reports on drug abuse statistics in the U.S. shows no state or region is “safe” from the challenges of drug addiction. Data from 2019 indicates West Virginia, Washington DC, and Arkansas were among the states with the highest substance use rates, while Utah, Hawaii, and Minnesota ranked lowest.9

Drug Overdose Death Rates

Drug addiction statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2020, West Virginia had the highest drug overdose rate at 81.4 people per 100,000, while South Dakota had the lowest. In most states throughout the nation, the opioid epidemic remains a complex challenge. Since 1999, nearly one million people have died from a drug overdose. Of those, two out of every three involved an opioid drug.

Drug Abuse Rehab

While drug abuse statistics may look bleak at times, it is all essential to take a moment to look at drug abuse recovery statistics. Unfortunately, very few of the millions who could benefit from help at an addiction treatment program like Great Oaks Recovery Center will ever receive the help they need.

Addiction treatment statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tell us that less than 10% of addicts will ever attend or complete an addiction treatment program. Although drug addiction statistics continue to rise nationwide, addiction treatment rates do not.

Get Help for Addiction Today

It is important to consider rates of drug abuse treatment statistics because research has repeatedly proven that seeking professional treatment is the safest and most effective way to overcome addictions to most substances. Drugs, including methamphetamines, heroin, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, produce powerful and sometimes overwhelming withdrawal symptoms. If you or a loved one are ready to start seeking out a solution for drug abuse, it is crucial to reach out for help.

drug addiction statistics

Begin Healing at Great Oaks Recovery

At a professional rehab, skilled treatment providers will help you through the detoxification process and guide you as you progress through addiction therapies to learn how to effectively manage relapse triggers and other stressors that once led you to use drugs or alcohol. If you are ready to get sober, get help for addiction today.

Contact a member of our admissions team to learn more about what to expect from our programs and how we can help you begin your journey towards lasting health and wellness.

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.