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Substance Abuse Statistics

Substance Abuse Statistics

The statistics around addiction are staggering, and they only begin to tell the story of just how many lives are impacted by substance abuse. The lives of individuals abusing drugs and alcohol aren’t the only ones affected. These lives also include the loved ones and communities that are struggling and overwhelmed—which aren’t reflected in the numbers. In a time when America saw 107,000 drug overdose deaths in one year, the need for life-saving addiction treatment and adequate substance abuse resources is more critical than ever.

What the Numbers Show

Substance abuse was already following an upward trend when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. The isolation and stress of the pandemic compounded that. Data showed a steep rise in:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse and death rates
  • Addiction relapse rates
  • Mental health disorders
  • Drug overdoses
  • Suicide

Addiction statistics on all substance use in 2020 show:

  • More than 40 million people over age 12 met DSM-5 criteria for a substance use disorder (SUD).
  • More than 28 million of the 40.3 people with a SUD had an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • More than 18 million of the 40.3 people with a SUD had an illicit drug use disorder (IDUD).
  • Six-and-a-half million of the 40.3 people with a SUD had an AUD and an IDUD.
  • Over 59 million people over age 12 used illegal drugs.
  • Nine-and-a-half million people over age 12 abused illicit or prescription opioids.
  • Alcohol-related deaths increased by 25% from the previous year.
  • Preliminary overdose statistics show 107,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021.
  • Preliminary data shows that of drug overdose death rates, 80,000 involved opioids.
  • CDC estimates that 140,000 people die from excessive drinking each year.

Addiction Statistics by Substance

Opioids have hogged the headlines for the last several years for good reason—they’re still taking the most lives. But people are dying of all kinds of substance abuse as well. As of this writing, the latest addiction statistics by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show the following for U.S. substance use in 2020.

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Alcohol abuse takes thousands of lives each year. Not only do people who abuse alcohol die from alcohol poisoning and car accidents, but the long-term health effects like liver disease, cancers, stroke, and heart disease claim lives too.

In a snapshot of alcohol use over a past month in 2020:

  • Over 60 million people ages 12 or older binged on alcohol.
  • Binge drinking was highest among people ages 18 to 25.
  • Over 3 million underage drinkers engaged in binge drinking or heavy drinking.
  • Six million people between ages 12 to 20 used alcohol.
  • Over 17 million people over age 12 engaged in heavy drinking.
  • Heavy drinking was highest among people ages 18 to 25.

Also in 2020:

  • Over 28 million people ages 12 or older met the DSM-5 criteria for an alcohol use disorder.
  • Alcohol use disorders were highest among people ages 18 to 25.
  • Alcohol use disorders were second highest among adults ages 26 or older.
  • Over 4 million people started drinking.

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

Like alcohol, the worst effects of cocaine often come down the road. Even after you’ve stopped using cocaine, you may have long-term damage to your heart and brain.

Drug abuse statistics for cocaine and crack cocaine include:

  • More than 5 million people over age 12 used cocaine.
  • Young adults ages 18 to 25 presented the highest cocaine use (1.4 million).
  • More than eighty thousand people ages 12 or older used crack.
  • People ages 26 or older presented the highest cocaine use (606,000).
  • Over 1 million people met the DSM-5 criteria for a cocaine use disorder.

Opioid Addiction Statistics

The opioid epidemic seems to see no end in sight, and the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help.

In one year:

  • Over 9 million people ages 12 or older misused opioids.
  • The highest opioid misuse was among people ages 18 to 25.
  • The second-highest opioid misuse was among people ages 26 or older.
  • Prescription painkillers were the most misused opioid (9.3 million people).
  • Almost 1 million people used heroin.
  • Around 667,000 people abused prescription painkillers and heroin.
  • More than two hundred thousand people used heroin solely (i.e., did not misuse opioid painkillers).
  • Nearly 3 million people over age 12 met the criteria for an opioid use disorder.
  • Adults ages 26 made up the majority of people diagnosed with opioid use disorders (2.3 million).

Meth Addiction Statistics

In rare cases, meth is prescribed for ADHD or obesity, but most meth in the U.S. is made and distributed illegally. As far as illegal meth:

  • Two-and-a-half million people ages 12 and older used methamphetamine.
  • Adults ages 26 or older presented the most meth use at 1.4 million.
  • One-and-a-half million people ages 12 or older qualified for a methamphetamine use disorder.
  • Adults ages 26 and older were most frequently diagnosed with methamphetamine use disorders (1.4 million).

Hallucinogen Addiction Statistics

Hallucinogenic drugs are typically not considered to be physically addictive, but it’s very possible to develop a psychological addiction to these drugs. Hallucinogens include drugs like:

  • Ecstasy/MDMA/Molly
  • LSD
  • Ketamine
  • Peyote
  • Psilocybin mushrooms
  • PCP

In 2020:

  • About 7 million people ages 12 and older used hallucinogens.
  • Adults ages 18 to 25 presented the most hallucinogen use.
  • More than 1 million people over age 12 used hallucinogens for the first time.
  • Initial hallucinogen use was highest among adults ages 18 to 25 (785,000).

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

With many states making cannabis legal, marijuana has acquired a reputation for being “not dangerous” or addictive. While THC is not as addictive as drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines, regular marijuana users can develop a psychological addiction to marijuana and even experience physical withdrawal symptoms if they go without it.

In 2020:

  • Almost 50 million people over age 12 used marijuana.
  • Marijuana use was highest among young adults ages 18 to 25 (11.6 million).
  • People ages 26 and older had the second-highest marijuana usage at 35.5 million.
  • More than 14 million people ages 12 or over met DSM-5 criteria for a marijuana use disorder.
  • Four-and-a-half million young adults ages 18 to 25 had a marijuana use disorder.
  • One million youth ages 12 to 17 had a marijuana use disorder.
  • Almost 9 million people ages 26 and over had a marijuana use disorder.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Statistics

Benzodiazepines fall into the sedative/tranquilizer category of drugs. They were once widely prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety or insomnia. Once the medical community discovered benzos’ potential for drug abuse and addiction, they scaled back on prescriptions significantly. Still, benzos are often abused, and diverted benzodiazepines can be bought on the street.

In 2020, benzodiazepine drug use statistics show:

  • Almost 5 million people ages 12 and older misused prescription benzos.
  • Benzo misuse was highest among people ages 18 to 25 (1.1. million).
  • More than 1 million people over the age of 12 met DSM-5 criteria for a prescription tranquilizer use disorder or sedative use disorder.
  • People ages 18 to 25 held the highest percentage of prescription tranquilizer use disorder or sedative use disorder.

Looking for Help?

These numbers don’t lie. Addiction is widespread, dangerous, and can be deadly. If your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait to get them the help they need to get better.

At Vogue Recovery Center, we tailor treatment plans to clients’ clinical needs, preferences, and life experiences so their time with us is relevant and effective. Our substance abuse treatment programs are evidence-based and engaging. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment includes:

  • Co-occurring disorders treatment
  • Detox, residential, and outpatient treatment
  • Traditional and holistic therapies
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Trauma therapies

Vogue’s treatment centers are home-like and welcoming, providing a safe, comfortable setting for the work of recovery. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.

References

  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/2021-10/2020_NSDUH_Highlights.pdf
  2. https://apnews.com/article/overdose-deaths-opioids-fentanyl-8cb302a70ddbb6a435f9e8fbb19f153b
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/features/excessive-alcohol-deaths.html
  4. https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/comorbidity/covid-19-substance-use
  5. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/dtac/mental-health-substance-use-effects-covid-pandemic-srb.pdf

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