Drug Abuse Facts and Drug Abuse Statistics: Drug addiction is has been a major and growing issue not only within the United States, but worldwide with an approximation of over 247 million people abusing drugs or alcohol.Within 2015 alone, there were nearly 21 million Americans ranging from age 12 and over that had already developed a substance abuse addiction.

Drug Abuse Facts and Drug Abuse Statistics:

Drug addiction is has been a major and growing issue not only within the United States but worldwide with an approximation of over 247 million drug users. Within 2015 alone, there were nearly 21 million Americans ranging from age 12 and over that had already developed a substance abuse addiction. 

Drug Abuse Statistics and Facts

While most drug abusers do not get the help that they need in order to become sober, within 2011 alone, research had shown an increase in the number of individuals actually seeking help which raised to 3 million people.

Research organizations get their stats by studying all aspects of drug abuse and drug addiction, this includes the way each drug acts upon the human brain, success rates of those who underwent treatment for drug addiction as well as tracking ages, gender, and environment of their subjects. Stats are also gathered based on data received from ER rooms, hospitals as well as treatment facilities and finding drug statistics is among one of the top priorities within the US research organizations. Based on statistics by the National Centre of Health Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/druguse.htm) in 2009 it was understood that:

  • 8.7% of Americans of ages 12 and over had abused street drugs- Crack, Heroin, Cocaine
  • 6.6% ranging from the same age groups also overused Marijuana / Cannabis for recreational purposes
  • 2.8% of Americans abused psychotherapeutic / antidepressants for non-medical purposes

Drug Abuse Statistics of Dangerous Consequences

According to research conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf for the year 2014, the results of drug abuse statistics were significantly higher with:

  • An approximate 21.5 million Americans over the age 12 had reported using illicit drugs in 2014.
  • An estimated 28.7 million American individuals, equivalent to 10.9% of America’s population of ages 12 and over operated motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.
  • 6.4 million Americans reported that they have used or currently use prescription drugs including painkillers and tranquilizers for non-medical purposes
  • Researches also indicated that within 2014, the abuse of cocaine had significantly decreased. However, from the previous amount of 2.3 million persons (2003) to 1.5 million.
  • Estimates showed that in 2014, nearly 140 million Americans over the age of 12 were, at the time, currently using alcohol, with 16.3 million having reported heavy alcohol use in the prior month, and 60.9 million have reported binge drinking in the prior month, reflecting an increase from previous years.
  • In 2013, an estimate of 22.7 million Americans had looked into receiving treatment for drug addictions however, only 2.5 million actually checked into a facility and received treatment.
  • 41% of most substance abuse treatments were for alcohol addiction within 2009, with 20% being for opiate addiction and 17% of the American population being treated for the abuse of Marijuana

Marijuana Statistics

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs worldwide, with over 22 million individuals using and abusing it within 2015 alone, according to studies from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Additionally known as weed, ganja, or cannabis, Marijuana can be a negative drug that could change the way an individual’s brain make up is which, when abused for long-term, can cause memory problems and coordination issues. However, it also has positive effects as well which is why it has been made legal for medicinal purposes in some states. Hence, the reason for it to be on the top 10 most abused drugs as some persons use the medicinal purpose excuse as a means to abuse the drug more openly.

According to the US government, estimates of domestic marijuana production has significantly increased over the last 25 years by alarming rates. In 1981 domestic production of marijuana were only 2.2 million pounds. Statistics show it increases by a landslide to 21 million pounds in 2006 with 58% of its users being between the ages of 12 to 17.

Marijuana is sometimes considered as a gateway drug since its effects are less harmful and life-threatening than those of heroin.

Drug Abuse Statistics on Alcohol

Of course, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can lead to both short and long-term health problems. Side effects range from causing damage to the liver or the development of cirrhosis. Alcohol is among one of the major reasons for premature deaths.

1 in every 10 deaths among the working class individuals between the ages of 20 – 64 are often due to an alcohol overdose and is also responsible for an average of over 88,000 deaths per year!

  • According to studies, at least 30% of teens had drunk their first alcoholic beverage by age 15.
  • In a study conducted back in 2015, it was understood that 7.7 million young adults and adolescents, ages 12 through 20, had reported that they had drunk at least a whole bottle of a beverage with an  alcoholic content
  • Alcohol has contributed to over 200 diseases as well as injury-related health conditions including various forms of cancer
  • Alcohol poisoning claims the lives of at least 6 people on a daily basis, of which, 76% of those individuals are between the ages of 35 – 65 with 3 in every 4 of those deaths being male.
  • Driving while intoxicated accounts for more than 30% of driving fatalities annually

Facts on the Excessive Use of Alcohol

Alcohol addiction affects individuals from all over the world with the main cause of developing a drinking habit being “to temporarily solve all of life’s problems”. Alcoholism has a huge impact on the entire human body especially the liver, immune system, brain, heart and mouth. However, despite this fact, each year the rates of alcohol consumption increases.

  • The fetal alcohol syndrome and the risk of birth defects such as mental and physical birth defects are at a higher rate in women who drink.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can interrupt the menstruation cycle as well as cause infertility.
  • Men are two times more likely than women to drive while intoxicated thus leading to a fatal car accident.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol is a common factor in sexual assault incidents.

Heroin Abuse and Opiate Drug Abuse Statistics

Heroin addiction as well as the abuse of heroin is very closely tied to the abuse of prescription drugs and are both common denominators in the growing rates of drug-related deaths and overdoses within the U.S per year. Many opiates, especially heroin, are responsible for an approximate 1.2 million emergency room visits within 2014 alone. Since opium is the raw substance from which heroin is made, there is no surprise that the two go hand in hand.

In 2007, studies have shown that 93% of the world’s opium supply had come from Afghanistan (since it is an indigenous plant to them), with a total export value at $4 billion were distributed internationally with more than 3/4 being distributed to drug traffickers.

An estimate of 13.5 million persons worldwide abuse opiates with 9.2 million of said individuals also being heroin addicts.

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Since painkillers such as Oxycodone are very easy to obtain as opposed to other drugs, that makes them easier to become addictive and makes it among one of the most commonly abused substances worldwide. Prescription painkillers have a rate of between 26 – 36 million individuals with an addiction to them.

  • The overdose on prescription painkillers has a much higher rate than overdoses caused by heroin and cocaine combined.
  • More than 50% of persons with an addiction to painkillers, had obtained them through a friend or a family member right in their own home.
  • 3 in every 4 prescription related overdoses are caused by painkillers
  • Since the year 1999, the sale of prescription painkillers, including over the counter painkillers, have tripled by a whopping 300%

Cocaine Drug Abuse Statistics

Between the period of 2006 – 2011, the use of cocaine and crack had significantly decreased by almost 1 million individuals kicking their habit. However, for those who abuse these substances, even if they are just trying it out for the very first time, the probability of developing an addiction is alarmingly high as opposed to other addictive substances.

Cocaine had accounted for the largest amount of illicit drug-related emergency room visits within 2011, this amounted to over 500 thousand visits within the U.S, and an approximate 800 thousand Americans had reported in the same year of having an addiction to cocaine.

Hallucinogens and Inhalant Drug Abuse Statistics

Hallucinogenic drugs include a wide range of substances including Ecstasy, Molly and LSD, and inhalants range from a variety of products that are very well already in your own home and probably used on a day-to-day basis including medical anesthetics. While Inhalants are typically not among one of the most commonly abused substances, they do have a very high potential of having an individual becoming vulnerable to its effects and has the ability to cause dependence.

In 2011, when hallucinogen abuse levels began to rise, there were over 20,000 ecstasy-related emergency room visits with many of them coming very close to overdosing

As of 2007, there was a recorded 22.8 million individuals who had reported to using LSD at some point in their lie

On an annual basis, there are at least 5,000 LSD-related emergency room visits

Due to inhalant poisoning, almost 200,000 hospitalizations were seen as a result in 2008 within the United States alone. 

Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Abuse Statistics

top drug abuse statistics

Being one of the most dangerous and most addictive substances, meth and amphetamines are drugs that work on the central nervous system. Amphetamines are typically only attainable through a doctors prescription, meth is a bit different and can be obtained illegally as well and is classified as an illicit drug just as cocaine is. A study conducted by UCLA also revealed that methamphetamine’s releases nearly 4 times more dopamine levels within the brain, that is much more than cocaine releases, which makes it 4 times more addictive than cocaine.

The use of amphetamines has been increasing especially among college students over the past few years. One study also showed that across hundreds of colleges within the U.S, nearly 7% of students used amphetamines illegally and over 24% of students have reported to trying it at some point in their college life.

  • Within 2011, an approximate 160 thousand emergency room visits were made due to the overuse of amphetamine and methamphetamines.
  • In 2010, a study also had shown that nearly 13 million individuals had abused meth at one point in life with 350 thousand of said individuals, still being frequent users, however, these numbers have increased by 80 thousand in 2011 and still continue to rise today.

Seeking Help for Drug Abuse

If any of these signs of drug abuse appear in you or your loved one we highly recommend considering professional help such as a substance abuse treatment facility, residential treatment facility or inpatient drug rehab. Once the residential portion of drug abuse treatment is completed sober living is recommended while continuing outpatient substance abuse treatment and attending 12 step meetings.

Call us at our addiction helpline if you need assistance with anything pertaining to drug abuse. Whether you have questions, need to find a treatment center near you, or want help staying sober, our professionals are here to help you. Recovery is possible and the time isnow to pursue a clean and sober life.

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