Stats and Facts About Addiction

Knowing the statistics on the illegal use of drugs and alcohol can save your life. Educating oneself on the drug and alcohol statistics will give you an idea of how it can impact not only your life but an entire community as well. So if you are looking for the right stats on substance abuse, this article can help you with that. 

Addiction in America

Addiction kills thousands of people in America each year and this has proven to play a major impact on people’s lives. However, keep in mind that addiction is a mental disorder that forces a person to repeatedly use and abuse substances even though they know that it has debilitating consequences. 

Addiction destroys marriages, ruins careers, causes personal relationships to crumble, and creates mental and physical turmoil for a person. The number of people suffering from addiction continues to grow each and every year. Here are some general statistics on addiction in the U.S.

  • Deaths related to drugs have tripled in America since the year 1990.
  • About 700,000 Americans in the years 1999 until 2017 died from a drug overdose.
  • Americans ages 18 to 25 are most likely to use drugs or have at least dabbled in drug use.
  • 90% of people who have addiction began drinking alcohol and using drugs before they were 18 years old.
  • $28 billion of the US economy goes to alcohol and drug addiction.
  • Americans with depression or anxiety disorder are most likely to have substance addiction as well.
  • It is estimated that 34.2 million Americans committed DUI in 2017 where 21.4 million of these cases were done under the influence of alcohol and the rest are due to drug abuse.

Alcohol Addiction Stats in the United States

One of the widely abused substances and easily acquired in the US is alcohol. However, despite the number of drunk driving, being addicted to alcohol is still left untreated. Not only is alcohol addiction bad for your health, but it also plays an impact on your mental and social well-being while putting a strain on your physical health. 

  • About 15 million Americans are affected by alcohol abuse disorders.
  • Each year, 5.3% of deaths in America are caused by alcohol either driving under the influence or alcohol poisoning and affects 1 out of 20 people.
  • 6% of adult Americans have issues with alcohol use disorder. Most of these adults with alcohol use disorder are left untreated.
  • American males with age groups of 18 to 25 are most likely to binge drink and become alcoholics in their later life. 
  • It is estimated that 30 Americans die each day due to alcohol-related car accidents while 6 of them die due to alcohol poisoning. 
  • 88,000 people in the US die as a result of alcohol abuse each year.

Drug Addiction Stats in the United States

The US is a hub for many illegal drugs and even though the government is working towards putting an end to this epidemic, people are still able to obtain illicit substances. Here’s what you need to know:

OPIOID Addiction

Opioids are a kind of drug mainly used to block chronic pain. The most common side effect of this drug is euphoria which many people become addicted to with repeated use. Opioids are controlled substances and cannot be bought over the counter. This is also the reason why many drug traffickers sell them in the streets illegally. 

  • Between the years 1999-2017, it is estimated that 399,230 Americans have died due to opioid addiction. 
  • 130 Americans die every day due to overdose of opioids.
  • 47,600 people were reported to have fatal overdoses in 2017.
  • It was in 1999 when opioid sales went up the charts. 
  • 30% of opioid users tend to misuse them while 10% of them become addicted. 
  • 2.1 million Americans are opioid abusers and 5% of them with opioid use disorder will dabble in other substances as well.

HEROIN Addiction

Just like opioids, heroin is also addictive. Not only is it addictive but it is also deadly when mixed with fentanyl which is a major contributor to opioid addiction in the US.

  • It is estimated that 494,000 Americans abuse heroin, some abuse this drug as early as 12 years old.
  • 886,000 of Americans were reported to use heroin at least once in 2017. 
  • In 2017, about 15,000 Americans were reported to have died due to heroin overdose.
  • 81,000 people tried heroin for the first time in 2017.


One of the most popular drugs that is used and abused by many people is marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that comes from the cannabis plant used for medicinal and recreational purposes. While many states are now legalizing marijuana, some still consider it unsafe due to its addictive properties which can cause a number of health issues. 

  • 40 million Americans smoke marijuana every year.
  • About 43% of American adults reported having tried marijuana at least once in their lives.
  • In 2017, about 1.2 million people in the US ages 12 to 17 have used marijuana for the first time while 525,000 people ages 25 have used marijuana for the first time. 
  • 30% of people who have used marijuana on a regular basis have developed marijuana use disorder. 

TOBACCO Addiction

Just like alcohol, tobacco is a legal substance. Cigarettes can be easily purchased in grocery stores or gas stations. While some places are strict on asking for ID among minors, there are still ways in which this substance can be acquired.

  • 34 million Americans are habitual smokers or smoke somewhat frequently. 
  • A decrease of 14% among tobacco users was reported in 2017.
  • American people who are living below the poverty line are most likely the first ones to develop an addiction to tobacco products.
  • 604,000 Americans between the ages of 12-17 and 1.2 million Americans between the ages of 18-21 were reported to smoke their first cigarettes in 2017.
  • Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of deaths in the US each year. 

COCAINE Addiction 

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that comes in powder or crystal form. This substance can severely damage the vital organs of the body, create mental disorders, and cause respiratory failures. 

  • It is reported that about 1.5 million Americans are regular users of cocaine.
  • 1 out of 5 overdose deaths reported were related to cocaine abuse as reported in 2017.
  • Americans ages 18 to 25 use cocaine more often than other age groups.


Commonly known as meth, this substance is one of the most commonly abused ones today. It is usually sold in crystal form to be smoked or burned down and injected. It is also considered very dangerous to your health and highly addictive.

  • Approximately 1.6 million Americans have used methamphetamine while 774,000 are more likely to be habitual users.
  • In 2017, about 10,000 Americans died due to meth overdose.
  • Fatal meth overdose tripled from 2011 to 2016 in the US.


Hallucinogens fall under the category or mind-altering drugs. They are illegal and may cause traumatic hallucinations, addiction, or even impaired judgment. 

  • In 2017, about 1.2 million Americans including minors aging 12 to 17 have used hallucinogens for the first time. 

Inhalants are drugs that fall into the category of gases, solvents, and aerosol sprays. People inhale them in order to get high and produce mind-altering effects. It can also make them lose consciousness and develop an addiction.

  • 556,000 Americans are regular users of inhalants.
  • 23 million people in the US have tried using inhalants at least once.
  • In 2018, 9% of 12th graders were reported to use inhalants at least once.

Don’t become one of the statistics. Drugs will serve no purpose in your life, they will only destroy it. Stay away from drugs while you can and save your life.