According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), here are facts about drug abuse in America, “Statistics on Specific Population Demographics and Addiction”
1. 21.2 million American adults had some form of “substance abuse” in 2017.
2. Of this, almost 71 percent of individuals suffering from a “substance abuse” disorder in 2017 also struggled with alcohol abuse; one out of every eight people who suffered from a drug use disorder in 2016, according to NSUDH, struggled with both alcohol and drug abuse disorders simultaneously.
3. Over 6.9 million Americans in 2017 battled a serious drug use disorder i.e. cocaine, heroin, and/or meth.
4. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that in 2017, almost 7.3 million American adults battled both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, or co-occurring disorders.
5. About one out of every six American young adults (between the ages of 18 and 25) battled a substance use disorder in 2017. This represents the highest percentage out of any age group at 16.3 percent. According to AARP, heroin addiction among young adults between 18 and 25 years old has doubled in the past 10 years.
6. The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) studied in 2016 in college students found that alcohol was the number one substance this group had a disorder at 61 percent. Of those admitted to public substance abuse programs did so for an alcohol use disorder; as well, marijuana was second at 55.7 percent, and prescription drugs were third at 31.6 percent). Note: College graduates aged 26 or older battled drug addiction at lower rates than those who did not graduate from college.
7. NSDUH reports that in 2017, approximately 5.2 percent of American adolescents (aged 12-17) suffered from a substance abuse disorder; this equates to 1.3 million teens, or 1 in every 12.
8. Almost 704,900 American youths between ages 12 and 17 had an alcohol use disorder in 2017, and according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 865,000 adolescents suffered from an illicit drug use disorder in 2017.
9. Individuals who tried marijuana or alcohol before the age of 15 were almost four times as likely to suffer from a marijuana or alcohol use disorder as an adult than those who waited until after age 18 to try these substances. Note: The Journal, “Clinical EEG and Neuroscience” reports that abusing drugs or alcohol before the brain is fully developed, any time before a person’s mid-20s, may increase the risk for addiction later in life due to their potential influence on the still-developing brain.
10. In elderly individuals, “Today’s Geriatric Medicine” reports an estimated 15 percent of elderly individuals (62 and over) may suffer from problems associated with substance abuse and addiction. Note: Over 3 percent of the older adult population may struggle with an alcohol use disorder.
11. According to the “Psychiatric Times”, the elderly generation takes more prescription drugs than younger ones; as well, the elderly generation tends to have lower metabolisms, potentially suffer from social isolation and ageism, may struggle with many medical issues, and therefore may be at a higher risk for prescription drug abuse and dependence. Note: Two-thirds of the population over the age of 65 who struggle with alcohol addiction, battled an alcohol abuse disorder at a younger age and carried it with them as they aged.
12. Between 21 and 23 percent of elderly individuals 62 and over battling a substance abuse disorder also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder.
13. According to NIAAA, men vs. women, in 2016, adult men in the United States struggled with an alcohol abuse disorder at rates double those of women, 12.6 million as compared to 6.4 million. Note: According to TEDS, close to 70 percent of treatment admissions for substance abuse in 2015 were male; men are more likely to abuse illicit drugs than women. According to NSDUH, for boys vs. girls between the ages of 12 and 17, both genders battle substance use disorders at similar rates, making it the only age bracket that men did not significantly outweigh women in 2016.
14. According to NSDUH reports, Ethnicity/race: a) In 12017 American Indians and Alaska natives had the highest rate of substance abuse and dependence at 14.9 percent; as well approximately 11.3 percent of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders suffered from substance abuse and drug dependence; b) Hispanics and whites suffered from substance abuse and dependence at similar rates in 2016, around 9.6 percent, while about 9.3 percent of African Americans struggled with it; c) Asians suffered from substance abuse and dependency the least at rates around 3.1 percent; d) Middle Eastern individuals had a very low percentage of drug abuse at only 1.9 percent. Note: A study of undergraduate college students published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse found that whites and Hispanics were more likely to have issues surrounding drug abuse than their Asian and African American counterparts.
15. According to the Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reports that drug abuse and addiction cost American society close to $390 billion in healthcare, criminal justice, legal, and lost workplace production/participation costs in 2016. Note: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global burden of disease related to drug and alcohol issues to be 5.4 percent worldwide.
16. According to NCAAD, criminal justice/employment status: Almost twice as many people who are unemployed struggle with addiction than those who are fulltime workers; “CNN Money” reports around 19 percent of the unemployed and 10.3 percent of the employed population in the U.S. struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2016. Note: About half of the population of American prisons and jails suffer from addiction. Note: National Institute of Health (NIH) reports around three-quarters of individuals in a state prison or local jail who suffer from a mental illness also struggle with substance abuse.
17. According to NSDUH, TEDS, The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) on individual drug use: a) Cocaine: over 1,300,000 American adults (over age 17) struggled with a cocaine abuse disorder in 2016. Note: In 2016, TEDS reported that 8.9 percent of all treatment admissions were for cocaine abuse and dependency issues; b) Heroin: approximately 900,000 Americans aged 16 and older struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2016. Note: ASAM reports that almost a quarter of people who try heroin once will ultimately become addicted to it and chronically abuse it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, heroin abuse and addiction have risen in all population and demographic groups in the United States over the past few years. According to NCAAD, individuals addicted to alcohol are two times more likely to also be addicted to heroin; as well, according to the CDC, those addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin, while individuals addicted to cocaine are 15 times more likely to be addicted to heroin, and people addicted to prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to also be addicted to heroin or try it. Second note: The highest at-risk population for heroin addiction, as reported by U.S. News, is non-Hispanic white males between the ages of 18 and 25 who live in large cities. According to the 2017 TEDS report, almost three-fourths of individuals admitted to treatment for a heroin abuse or dependency concern cited injection as the primary method of abuse; c) Prescription drugs: According to NSUDH reports, prescription drugs are abused at high rates. The most common types of “psychotherapeutic drugs” abused in 2016 were pain relievers (opiates), tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Pain relievers are the most common cause of a substance abuse disorder among prescription drugs. According to ASAM, over 3 million Americans over the age of 17 struggle with an opioid pain reliever abuse disorder in 2017. ASAM also reports that women may more rapidly develop a prescription painkiller addiction than men. On average, according to studies published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, individuals who were admitted to opioid treatment programs who abused only prescription opioids, or those who abused both heroin and prescription opioids, were about five years younger than individuals admitted solely for heroin abuse or dependency; d) Marijuana: According to NIDA, almost 7.3 percent of fulltime college students in the United States smoked marijuana daily in 2016; this is more than triple the number of daily smokers 20 years prior. According to NSDUH, approximately 4.2 million American adults (over the age of 17) battled a marijuana use disorder in 2015. Also according to NSDUH, the majority of people struggling with marijuana addiction in 2016 were between the ages of 12 and 25. TEDS reported, Marijuana use disorders accounted for the third highest number of treatment admissions (at 18 percent) to substance abuse programs in 2015; e) Alcohol: According to NCADD & NIAAA, alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America. In 2017, an estimated 17.8 million American adults (18 and older) battled an alcohol use disorder. TEDS published that 41 percent of all substance abuse treatment admissions were for alcohol. Note: The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) reported that in 2012, among American military veterans between the ages of 21 and 39 who admitted to substance abuse treatment programs, more than half cited alcohol as the primary substance of concern. Second note: Over half of all American adults have a personal family history of problem drinking or alcohol addiction.
“Statistics on Addiction Treatment”:
1. NSDUH reports that in 2016, only 10.9 percent of the individuals who needed treatment in a specialized facility for a substance use or dependency concern actually received it.
2. NIAAA reported that in 2015, about 1.7 million adults and 92,000 adolescents received treatment at a specialized facility for an alcohol use disorder. Note: According to TEDS, about a third of all college students admitted to publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs in 2016 battled a co-occurring mental health disorder. Second note: Over 115,000 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups exist in more than 175 countries around the world, serving more than 2 million members.
3. According to TEDS, opiates accounted for almost a quarter of all substance abuse treatment admissions in 2016.
4. Most of the people who need treatment for addiction, but don’t get it, don’t feel they need it. NSDUH reports that in 2016, more than 47 percent of those who needed specialty substance abuse treatment didn’t receive it.
5. The New York State Office on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) reports that addiction is considered a highly treatable disease, and recovery is attainable. However, only about 23 percent of Americans (adults who are at least 18 years old) claim to be in recovery from an alcohol or drug abuse issue.
- Bryan Bennica
- Jared Ledgard
- Jensen J.
- Ryan Henson
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