Substance Abuse

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Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others, and is a form of substance-related disorder.

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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.

  • 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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