Nationwide Alcohol And Drug Trends
Drug use in America has slightly increased from 2002 to 2012. In 2002, 13.0% of Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication in the past month. By 2012, that number had increased to 13.2% an increase of over 4 million Americans. The increase is mostly attributable to the increase in marijuana use: in 2007, 5.8% of Americans used in the past month by 2012, the number of past-month marijuana users rose by 4.5 million people to 7.3%. The use of other illicit drugs remained stable over the same period, suggesting a shift in cultural perspective towards marijuana when compared to other substances.
Other nationwide trends include increased use by people 50 years or older , a decline in underage drinking , and a decline in driving under the influence .
2002-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Age Comparisons For Perceived Risk From Substance Use
In 2019, perceptions of great risk of harm from substance use varied by substance and age. For example, adults aged 26 or older were more likely than adolescents aged 12 to 17 or young adults aged 18 to 25 to perceive great risk of harm from smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day .
Moreover, young adults aged 18 to 25 were less likely than adolescents aged 12 to 17 or adults aged 26 or older to perceive great risk of harm from smoking marijuana weekly . Recent research has identified associations among adults between decreases in perceptions of great risk of harm from smoking marijuana weekly and increases in marijuana use.42,43 Nevertheless, people can experience adverse effects from marijuana use, such as marijuana use disorder or injury resulting from operating a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana.44,45 Therefore, it is necessary to educate young adults about adverse effects of marijuana use.
General Demographics On Drug Use:
505,000 veterans misuse prescription pain relievers.
59,000 veterans use heroin.
Individuals who have previously abused drugs recently released from prisons have the highest risk for overdose from drugs.
Ecstasy, cocaine, meth, LSD, ketamine, and other club drugs are most frequently used by higher-income youth.
Among lower-income groups, inhalants are most commonly abused and these include gasoline, glue, paint, and paint thinner.
6.3 million individuals in the LGBTQ+ community have substance abuse issues, mental health problems, or both.
75% of drug overdose deaths in Americans over the age of 50 years is from opioids
- Amongst college students who use illegal drugs:
93% use marijuana.
36% use hallucinogens.
West Virginia leads the U.S with the highest rate of overdose deaths 51.5 deaths per 100,000.
Delaware has 43.8 overdose deaths per 100,000.
Pennsylvania has 36.1 overdose deaths per 100,000.
Ohio has 35.9 overdose deaths per 100,000.
As evidenced by these statistics and demographics, drug use, drug addiction, and overdose death from drugs are on the rise. Its vital to spread awareness about the dangers of drug useeven for first-time users. If you or a loved one need help with a drug use problem, Caron can help.
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Further Guidance And Support
National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Information: Guidance and support on treatment. Specific guides for teens, young adults and adults, as well as those trying to support someone with a drug use disorder.
- Geographical coverage: Universal guidance US-based treatment
UK National Health Service Guidance
- Information: Guidance and support on where to get help with a drug use disorder
- Geographical coverage: UK only
- Available at:
- Information: Free, confidential support services online, and by phone. General information ranging from drug effects to support for a drug dependency.
- Geographical coverage: Global
- Available at:
WHO Guidelines for the identification and management of substance use and substance use disorders in pregnancy
- Information: Guidance from the World Health Organization for healthcare providers managing women from conception to birth and the postnatal period, and their infants.
- Geographical coverage: Global
Prevalence Of Substance Use Disorders
Over 2% of the world population has an alcohol or illicit drug addiction
How common is alcohol or drug addiction?
In the map here we see the share of the population with a substance use disorder. Globally, just over 2% of the world were dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug.
In some countries its even more common. In the USA and several countries in Eastern Europe, more than 1-in-20 were dependent. In the USA, this was dominated by illicit drug dependence, whereas alcoholism was much more common in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Alcohol and drug addiction is more common in men
How does the prevalence of substance use disorders alcohol and illicit drug addiction vary between men and women?
In this visualization we show this comparison: the share of men with a substance use disorder is shown on the y-axis the share of women on the x-axis. The grey line represents parity: countries which lie along this line have equal prevalence in men and women. In countries which lie above the line, substance use disorders is more common in men.
Globally, alcohol or drug dependence was twice as common in men as in women: in 2016, 2.4% of men were dependent, versus 1.2% in women. Since all countries lie above the grey line, dependency is more common in men across the world.
Alcohol use vs. drug use disorders
Do countries with high rates of alcoholism also have high rates of other drug use disorders? Or does a high prevalence in one mean a low prevalence in the other?
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Number Of Drug Overdose Deaths In The Us From 2014 To 2016 By Age
- The number of drug overdose deaths increased in all age groups in the U.S. between 2014 and 2016.
- The highest number of drug overdose deaths between 2014 and 2016 was noted in groups 25 to 34 years and 45 to 54 years .
- Drug overdose deaths were not as prevalent in adolescents and elderly. However, the number of drug overdose deaths in groups 15 to 24 years was over twice as high as among people 65 and older. .
- Judging by the tendency presented in the chart, the problem of drug overdoses increases dramatically between the age of 15 and 34, with 6,376 drug overdose deaths in groups 15 to 24 years compared to 15,443 fatal cases among people in their late twenties or early thirties.
- Drug overdose were relatively rare among people 65 and older when compared to the 25-34 group. Actually, their number was over 5 times lower among seniors.
Recognizing Addiction In A Loved One
When a person is in the grips of severe alcohol or drug addiction, they may be unable to help themselves. It is often the responsibility of family members and friends to spot addiction in a loved one. Recognizing addiction is an important first step in getting the affected person the help they need to recover. Possible signs and symptoms that a loved one may be suffering from a substance use disorder include:
- Poor performance at work or school, such as missed deadlines, incomplete assignments, a drop in grades, or job loss.
- A lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies
- Neglecting relationships, or having problems in relationships because of substance use
- Taking unnecessary risks
- Physical withdrawal symptoms like sweating, trembling, or vomiting, when the person does not have the substance
- Increased tolerance to the substance
Identifying drug or alcohol abuse early allows the person to get help before the potentially irreversible consequences of addiction occur, such as acquiring an infection like HIV through shared needles, losing employment, permanently damaging relationships, getting arrested or incarcerated, damaging ones reputation, or losing custody of a child. With time, family and children of a person suffering from addiction can become severely impacted by the behavior.
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Statistics On Abuse And Addiction Of Sedatives And Tranquilizers
- In 2018, approximately 460,000 adolescents misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in the past year.
- Roughly 1.7 million young adults reported past-year misuse of sedatives and tranquilizers in 2018.
- Some 4.3 million adults aged 26 years and older reported misusing prescription sedatives and tranquilizers in 2018.
Aiding In The Fight Against Substance Use Disorder
Given the unfortunate magnitude of the substance use disorder problem in the United States, there are a number of non-profit and community-based organizations that are devoted to helping those most affected. Their noble work helps those who suffer from substance abuse recover and lead healthy, productive lives.
PlanStreets case management software is uniquely positioned to suit the needs of substance use agencies and addiction treatment services. Our flexible and customizable platform ensures that your organization will find the right fit of tools and reports that takes your work to the next level.
If your organization is ready to take the next step to enhance staff performance, achieve lofty goals, and better serve your community, schedule a time to meet with us and learn how we can help. PlanStreet is ready to get you to the next level.
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Other Substance Abuse Statistics
In 2019, the most commonly used drugs based on the number and percentage of users are:2, 3
- Psychotherapeutic drugs: 16.3 million
- Hallucinogens: 6 million
- Cocaine: 5.5 million
- Inhalants: 2.1 million
- Methamphetamines: 2 million
- Heroin: 745,000
Forty-five percent of surveyed Americans said they tried at least once.16
A third of those who used marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. One in 6 people who started using marijuana before the age of 18 become addicted.3
In 2020, marijuana use reached its highest rate among college students, at 44 percent.3, 17
Hallucinogens are also popular among college students. In 2020, nearly 9 percent of college students used hallucinogens, which is higher than the 5 percent figure in the previous year.17
Other drug abuse statistics:
- In 2017, around 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths were cocaine-related. The highest rate of overdoses and deaths is among non-Hispanic black populations.3
- So-called club drugs are mainly used by young people in higher-income brackets.3
- Meth and fentanyl are seen as the most significant threats in western and midwestern areas of the U.S.3
At 51.5 deaths per 100,000 people, West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S.3
Statistics On Cocaine Addiction And Abuse
Cocaine is an illegal Stimulant. Whether it comes in the form of powder or crystal , Cocaine can damage organs, provoke mental disorders, and cause respiratory failure. Cocaine is also highly addictive. Some Cocaine users may become addicted after using the drug only once.
- About 5 million Americans are regular Cocaine users.
- A little under 2% of 8th graders had used Cocaine as of 2020.
- In 2020, almost 1% of 8th graders had used Crack.
- Cocaine-related fatalities have grown every year since 2013.
- There were 14,666 such deaths in 2018.
- Americans between the ages of 18 to 25 use Cocaine more than any other age group.
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How Inpatient And Outpatient Addiction Treatment Can Help
Developing an addiction to drugs can take time for certain substances, as the body builds resistance to the drugs. With continued use of a drug, more and more of it is needed to achieve the same effects. From this increased usage, the body starts to depend on the drug to be able to function. This stage of addiction is referred to as drug dependency.
It can be very difficult to stop using the drug once one is dependent on it. As such, continuing to use the drug leads to complete addiction and the inability to stop using it, without help from an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment center.
One should never suddenly discontinue using a drug when they are dependent or addicted to it. Doing so could result in serious side effects, including death. Supervised detox at a drug treatment center is necessary to ensure the person is properly weaned off the drug slowly.
In addition to helping people detox, a treatment center has different programs and therapies that can be used to overcome the addiction. Participating in these programs helps people learn how to live a sober lifestyle free from drugs and alcohol.
To learn more about our addiction treatment center in Delray Beach, FL and our addiction treatment programs, please feel free to contact RECO Intensive at 561-501-2439 today!
Who Is Abusing Drugs In The United States
Now that we know about what types of drugs are abused and how, the next question is, what population demographic groups are most likely the experience substance abuse disorder?
- 22% of males and 17% of females have used drugs in the past year.
- Younger individuals are more likely to use drugs, however, use amongst those over 40 years of age is on a steady increase. In fact, drug-related deaths amongst those over 50 years of age increase almost 3% annually.
- Those who have previously used drugs and those who were recently released from prison are the demographics most at risk for substance abuse disorder.
- 80% of veterans struggle with alcohol abuse. 7% of veterans suffer from illegal drug abuse as compared to 5% of the general population.
- West Virginia has the nations highest rate of overdose deaths with 51.5 per 100,000.
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Illicit Drug Use Disorder
This section presents overall estimates for illicit drug use disorder, then provides SUD estimates for selected specific illicit drugs. Illicit drug use disorder was defined as meeting DSM-IV criteria for either dependence or abuse for one or more of the following illicit drugs: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, or prescription psychotherapeutic drugs that were misused .48 Respondents were classified as having an opioid use disorder if they met DSM-IV criteria for heroin use disorder or pain reliever use disorder . Relevant definitions for SUDs for specific illicit drugs can be found in a glossary of key definitions for the 2019 NSDUH.8
Among people aged 12 or older in 2019, 3.0 percent had at least one illicit drug use disorder in the past year . These estimates in 2019 were higher than the estimates in 2016 and 2017, but they were similar to those in 2015 and 2018.
Figure 38. Illicit Drug Use Disorder in the Past Year among People Aged 12 or Older: 2015-2019
+ Difference between this estimate and the 2019 estimate is statistically significant at the .05 level.
|+ Difference between this estimate and the 2019 estimate is statistically significant at the .05 level.|
Aged 12 to 17
Aged 18 to 25
Aged 26 or Older
The Cost Of Alcohol Addiction
- In 2013, almost half of the 72,559 liver disease deaths, including those resulting specifically from cirrhosis of the liver, involved alcohol.1
- Excessive alcohol use results each year in approximately 2.5 million years of potential life lost, or an average loss of 30 years for each fatality.3
- In 2010, more than 2.6 million hospitalizations were related to alcohol.23
- About 1/3 of deaths resulting from alcohol problems take the form of suicides and such accidents as head injuries, drowning incidents, and motor vehicle crashes.24
- About 20% of suicide victims in the United States involve people with alcohol problems.25
- In 2014, 30% of the countrys fatal traffic incidents were related to alcohol-impaired driving.26
- Among youth, underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each year and 189,000 emergency room visits for alcohol-related injuries and other conditions.8
- Excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among adults between 20 and 64 years.
- In 2010, the economic impact of excessive alcohol use in the United States approached an estimated $249 billion.3
Financial Policies and Facility Offerings Are Important
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Prescription Stimulant Use Disorder
Among people aged 12 or older, the percentage with a past year prescription stimulant use disorder remained stable between 2015 and 2019 . Among this population in 2019, 0.2 percent had a prescription stimulant use disorder in the past year.
Aged 12 to 17
Among adolescents aged 12 to 17, the percentage with a past year prescription stimulant use disorder remained stable between 2015 and 2019 . In 2019, 0.3 percent of adolescents had a prescription stimulant use disorder in the past year.
Aged 18 to 25
Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the percentage with a past year prescription stimulant use disorder remained stable between 2015 and 2019 . In 2019, 0.6 percent of young adults had a prescription stimulant use disorder in the past year.
Aged 26 or Older
Among adults aged 26 or older, the percentage with a past year prescription stimulant use disorder remained stable between 2015 and 2019 . In 2019, 0.1 percent of adults aged 26 or older had a prescription stimulant use disorder in the past year.
Illicit Drug Use In The Past Year
The 2019 NSDUH obtained illicit drug use information for the use of marijuana, cocaine , heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and methamphetamine, as well as for the misuse of prescription stimulants, tranquilizers, sedatives,25 and pain relievers .
This report presents estimates of past year illicit drug use to help detect changes in low-prevalence illicit drug use over time. Moreover, the 2019 NSDUH collected only past year data on the misuse of benzodiazepines and specific subtypes of prescription pain relievers .
Among people aged 12 or older in 2019, 57.2 million people used illicit drugs in the past year . The most commonly used illicit drug in the past year was marijuana, which was used by 48.2 million people. The second most common type of illicit drug use in the past year was the misuse of prescription pain relievers, which were misused by 9.7 million people. Smaller numbers of people were past year users of other illicit drugs, as shown in Figure 10.26
Figure 10. Past Year Illicit Drug Use among People Aged 12 or Older: 2019
Rx = prescription.Note: The estimated numbers of past year users of different illicit drugs are not mutually exclusive because people could have used more than one type of illicit drug in the past year.
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