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How Many Drug Addicts In The Us

Statistics On Opioid Addiction And Abuse

How Drug Addiction Works

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 2 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 1 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.

Drugs In The United States

In the United States, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defined the word “drug” as an “article intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals” and those ” intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.” Consistent with that definition, the U.S. separately defines narcotic drugs and controlled substances, which may include non-drugs, and explicitly excludes tobacco, caffeine and alcoholic beverages.

What To Do When You Relapse On Drugs

If you have relapsed on drugs, ask for help. Relapse is part of the recovery process, but it can feel like failure. Negative thoughts are a large part of addictive thinking, which tend to be an all-or-nothing mentality. Obsessing over these negative, self-critical feelings will only push you further into relapse.

After a relapse, reach out to a family member or friend who can help you start on the road to recovery. This can be someone else in recovery who understands what its like, such as a sponsor or friend at Narcotics Anonymous. You can also seek professional addiction counseling. An addiction counselor often uses cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you change your negative thought patterns and develop healthy coping skills. Numerous studies prove that CBT is an effective strategy for drug addiction relapse prevention 7.

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What Is A Relapse

The most recent drug relapse prevention research suggests that, rather than being a random event, relapse is a result of an underlying process, and is a part of overall recovery. In a now widely adopted treatment philosophy, relapse is best defined as a series of setbacks along the way to recovery 4. From this perspective, mistakes or lapses are considered part of the recovery process, not a failure to recover 5.

Drug addiction is known as a relapsing disease because to relapse is common among people in recovery. Repeated drug use can cause changes in the brain that may affect an addicted persons self-control and ability to resist cravings. Drug relapse prevention is an essential part of the recovery process because people remain at increased risk for many years 3.

The definition of drug relapse is evolving, thereby complicating efforts to explain it. Researchers debate whether drug relapse is a process or an outcome in and of itself 4. The origins of the definition of drug relapse come from a medical model that viewed addiction like a disease: a patient returns to a state of sickness after a period of remission 5. As the definition evolved, it came to encapsulate the process that leads people in recovery to return to their drug abuse.

Who Is Doing More Drugs

Overdose Death Rates

With drug abuse being so rampant in the U.S., its safe to say that there are no demographics that are immune to the temptation of drug abuse. However, there are some specific groups who have seen significant increases in drug consumption over the past decade. The biggest change in drug use has been among groups that arent typically viewed as demographics prone to substance abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the gaps in heroin use between men and women and rich and poor have narrowed throughout the 21st century. From 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin use among women increased 100 percent. During the same time, the rate of heroin use among people in households making $50,000 or more annually increased 60 percent.


Women are the fastest growing demographic of alcohol and drug use in the United States, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence . As many as 4.5 million women over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder , 3.5 million misuse prescription drugs and 3.1 million regularly abuse illicit drugs. Among girls ages 12-17, nonmedical use of prescription painkillers, alcohol, methamphetamine and many other illicit drugs now either match or exceed that of boys the same age.

Of the 6.5 million Americans who misused or abused prescription drugs in 2013, more than half were female.


Baby Boomers:

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Indirect Deaths: Drug Use As A Risk Factor For Premature Death

Illicit drug use is responsible for over 585,000 premature deaths each year

This visualization shows the number of premature deaths from drug use.

This is an estimation of the number of people who died early because of the use of illicit drugs during their life. This is different from the estimates below which focus on the number of deaths directly caused by illicit drug use.

The premature deaths from illicit drug use as a risk factor encompass a wide range of causes of death for which the use of illicit drugs is a risk factor. These deaths are those premature deaths that occur because the use of illicit drugs increased the risk of diseases and injury, including suicide, liver disease, hepatitis, cancer and HIV.7

It is broken down by age this is most clearly visible in the relative view. In 2017 42% of all who died were younger than 50 years.

Over 166,000 die from drug overdoses per year more than half are younger than 50 years

This chart shows the number of direct deaths those from drug use disorders by age.

Overdoses of illicit drugs caused an estimated 167,000 deaths in 2017 59% were younger than 50 years old.

Opioids were responsible for the largest number of drug overdoses

The visualization shows the number of deaths from overdoses by specific drugs.

Here we see that opioids were responsible for the largest number of overdoses 110,000 in 2017. The number of opioid deaths has been rising steeply over the past few years.

In 10 Americans Report Having Resolved A Significant Substance Use Problem

The skyrocketing overdose rates make headlines daily, but what about all those entering into recovery?

This national study estimated the prevalence, pathways, and predictors of recovery from drug and alcohol problems.


There are approximately 20 million individuals in the US with a substance use disorder.


This study by Kelly and colleagues* added to the research in the area by investigating problem resolution using a nationally representative sample of US adults both geographically and demographically. This representative sample mapped onto eight demographic and geographic benchmarks in the US census .


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What America Spends On Drug Addictions

You need only glance at the headlines or turn on the TV news to hear about the perils of drug abuse the ravages on the body and the mind, the devastation to addicts families and friends. While the immediacy of health and social issues are hard to refute, were going to change tack here and focus on an aspect of drug addiction that should particularly resonate in our increasingly materialistic world that of cold, hard cash.

How much money does drug addiction cost America each year? Far too much. First, we looked at the cost of the drugs themselves: What are the most prevalent drugs? How many people use? How much do they take to get high? Whats the price for a buy? And what number do you get when you multiply all that out?

Then we went further, past the cost of active spending, to examine the cost to society: What about the crime and the accidents, the health care costs, the lost productivity, the costs of treatment, and the war on drugs? How does it all factor in?

Finally, we turned reality on its head to ask a simple question: What could we buy if we solved drug addiction? Read on for the shocking report.

Americans waste $276 billion every year drinking, smoking, and taking illegal drugs. Legal drugs alcohol and nicotine comprise around half of that total. Smokers make up around 52% of the legal drugs total, binge drinkers comprise nearly 25%, and heavy drinkers about 23%.

But, despite all that, drug addiction just wont quit.

Drug Relapse Warning Signs

American Epidemic: The Nation’s Struggle With Opioid Addiction

Current research suggests that relapse is a gradual process wherein a person in recovery returns to his or her drug abuse. This means relapse can begin weeks or even months before an individual first takes a drug again 7. A good relapse prevention program helps individuals identify those early signs of relapse and develop tools and techniques for coping, so they can stop relapse early in the process. Researchers believe this significantly reduces a persons risk of returning to drug addiction 7.

Drug relapse warning signs can be broken down into three categories: emotional, mental, and physical signs. During emotional relapse, individuals are not consciously thinking about using, but they are setting themselves up for it. They remember what relapse feels like and are in denial about the possibility of it happening again 7.

During mental relapse, individuals are thinking about using drugs again, but they are at war with themselves. Part of them wants to use, and part of them doesnt. Eventually, this internal struggle wears them down. Physical relapse is when an individual finally returns to drug use. Some clinicians divide this phase into lapse and relapse . Either way, this final stage is the hardest to come back from 7.

Drug addiction relapse prevention requires identifying the following warning signs 7:

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Alarming Addiction Statistics And Facts For 2021

written by Hristina Nikolovska / January 10, 2021

Weve compiled the following list of addiction statistics from several verified sources to help educate you. Addiction is a big problem throughout the world, with a lot of people battling various forms of the disease. Because of addictions prevalence in the world today, it has become necessary to know the various forms this problem takes and the effects these substances have on us.

These statistics cover several substances, including cocaine, alcohol, and prescription medications, to give a better idea of the challenges those with an addiction face. As the following data will show, these substances affect people across all genders, races, and economic backgrounds.

Drug Abuse Among Demographics

Statistics indicate that some demographics and communities face elevated risks of drug abuse and drug disorders.

  • Persons previously abusing drugs and recently released from prison are at the highest risk for overdose as their tolerance to the drug has dropped while being incarcerated.
  • Club drugs such as ecstasy, meth, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, and GHB are primarily used in higher-income settings by young people.
  • Among lower-income users, the most commonly used drugs are inhalants such as paint thinner, gasoline, paint, correction fluid and glue.
  • 6.3 million LGBT+ adults had a substance or mental abuse disorder or both.
  • 7% of LGBT+ adults struggled with illegal drugs.
  • 2% of LGBT+ adults struggled with alcohol abuse.
  • 8% struggled with both illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.
  • 3% indicated a serious mental illness.

Drug Abuse Among Age Groups

While younger people are more likely to use drugs, the rate of drug use among people over 40 is increasing faster than it is among younger age grups.

  • The drug-related death rate for users over 50 increases 3% annually.
  • 75% of deaths from drug use disorders among users aged 50 years and older are caused by opioids.
  • 6% of drug deaths among 50-plus users are from cocaine and amphetamines, and 13% are from other drugs.
  • 35% of college students indicated they use illegal drugs instead of prescription drugs.
  • 93% of college students who use illegal drugs use marijuana.
  • 37% use cocaine and 36% use hallucinogens.

Drug Abuse Among States

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Prescription Opioid Abuse And Addiction Statistics In The United States

Prescription opioid drugs like oxycodone have a high potential for misuse and addiction. Commonly prescribed for pain, these drugs can be misused for their euphoric effects.

Prescription opioid misuse rates:

  • In 2019, more than 10 million people in the U.S reported misusing prescription opioids.
  • Nearly eight million were over the age of 26.

Opioid overdose rates:

  • About 130 people in the U.S. die each day due to fatal opioid overdose.
  • From 1999 to 2019, nearly 500,000 Americans died due to opioid overdose.

Rates by specific populations:

  • Although previously considered most common in white, rural populations, African Americans are now 2.5 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose compared to white Americans.

Where Are The Heroin And Fentanyl Coming From

After 40

The opioid crisis has also become a national security concern. Most of the heroin coming into the United States is cultivated on poppy farms in Mexico, with several major cartels controlling production and operating distribution hubs in major U.S. cities. Mexican cartels, which the DEA calls the greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States , typically smuggle narcotics across the U.S. southwest border in commercial and passenger vehicles and via underground tunnels. Large quantities of heroin are also produced in South American countries, particularly Colombia, and trafficked to the United States by air and sea. Although most of the worlds heroin comes from Afghanistan, only a small portion of the U.S. supply is produced there.

Most fentanyl in the United States is smuggled across the southern border, U.S. officials say, while fentanyl coming directly from Chinapreviously the dominant sourcehas significantly decreased since 2019. Mexican cartels will almost certainly have the greatest direct impact on the U.S. fentanyl market in the coming years, the DEA cautions.

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Statistics On Inhalant Addiction And Abuse

Inhalants are a group of solvents, gases, and aerosol sprays which people inhale to get high. Inhalants are household objects like nail polish, glue, hair spray, and leather cleaner, but they can have mind-altering effects. Huffing Inhalants can cause a person to lose consciousness or develop addiction.

  • More than 23 million Americans have tried an Inhalant at least once in their lives.
  • About 556,000 Americans are regular Inhalant users.
  • Almost 9% of 12th graders in 2018 reported using an Inhalant.
  • Inhalants contribute to about 15% of deaths by suffocation every year.

Reasons For Increased Drug Use

There is no single cause for the increasing rates of drug usage in the United States. People have varying reasons for why they turn to drug use, as well as when and why they decide to seek treatment. The most likely demographics to use drugs include teenagers, young adults, Baby Boomers, and overall men more than women. But there are some factors that may influence people, in general, to experiment with or use drugs. Some of the factors include:

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Drug Addicts In The Philippines Face A New Danger

There is currently a brutal drug war going on in the Philippines, and I do not mean a metaphorical one. This war is being orchestrated by the Filipino government and their newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte and while it is purported to be for the benefit of the Filipino people, many so far have been caught in the crossfire, and more than likely drug addicts in the Philippines will be the ones to suffer the most.

Inaugurated into office in June of this year, Dutertes made good on his campaign promises to crack down on the rampant crime and drug abuse that the Philippines has witnessed over the past few years. He quickly got to work on his war on drugs, and the fruits of his labor are palpable, as they have seen the streets of Manila littered with bodies, the total death count being 1,900 so far.

He is extremely popular in the country, having a 91% approval rating, and his overall agenda is to rid the country of drug lords and punish drug addicts in the Philippines. His agenda does not seem to have a distinction between the two groups and it assumes that drug addicts in the Philippines are criminals who, like their drug dealing counterparts, must be stopped.

In the wake of his failure there will, unfortunately, be thousands who die and all because we still believe on a certain level that a zero-tolerance policy actually works. It never has and never will, because fear only propagates misunderstanding and never actually solves the problem at hand.

How To Create An Effective Relapse Prevention Plan

Drug use afflicts US city of Baltimore – 10 Oct 08

After a drug relapse, life can feel like a lot to handle. Developing an effective recovery plan can help prevent future relapse. This means developing a plan to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. It should involve small achievable goals, like staying sober, eating right, and taking time out for yourself.

After a relapse, you need to go back to the basics. Even if you have relapsed after years of sobriety, the basic tools for sobriety are where you need to start. The following are some of the tasks that will help you return to sober life7:

  • Accept that you have an addiction
  • Be honest with yourself and others
  • Develop coping skills for cravings

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