USA Addiction Statistics

Drug abuse and addiction are overwhelming health care issues in the United States. The most unbiased way to understand the scope of drug use in the U.S. is to look at the numbers. There are many statistics to show just how dangerous and widespread drug use and alcohol addiction are in the U.S.

United States Addiction Statistics

Here are some important statistics about substance use in the United States of America:

  • 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose.
  • 7.4% of people over age 12 have a substance use disorder
  • 3% of people over age 12 have an illicit drug use disorder.

What Types of Drugs do Americans Abuse Most?

Millions of Americans every year use potentially dangerous and addictive substances. Each of these drugs varies in side effects but each of them can cause a substance use disorder.

Past Year Illicit Drug Use from Americans in 2019:

Not every drug user develops a substance use disorder but many do.

Past Year Substance Use Disorders from Americans in 2019:

Alcohol use disorder is the most common substance abuse disorder. Many but not most people who abuse alcohol also abuse illicit drugs.

Data About the Overlap of Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use:

  • 14.5 million Americans have alcohol use disorder (71.1% of all people with substance use disorders)
  • 8.3 million Americans have an illicit drug use disorder (40.1% of all people with substance use disorders)
  • 2.4 million or 11.8% have both alcohol use disorder and illicit drug use disorder

USA Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Statistics

Substance use and mental illness are each difficult to deal with on their own and they also tend to correlate. People who suffer from mental illnesses are significantly more likely than those who don’t to use drugs.

3.6 million people suffer from both a substance use disorder and a serious mental illness or mental health crisis.

Past-year Illicit Drug Use by Mental Illness Status:

  • Only 16.6% of adults without any mental illness abused illicit drugs.
  • Meanwhile, at least 38.8% of adults with any type of mental illness abused illicit drugs.
  • At least 49.4% of adults with serious mental illness abused illicit drugs.

Past-year Alcohol Binging by Mental Illness Status:

  • 24.5% of those with no mental illness
  • 30.9% of those with any mental illness
  • 32.7% of those with a serious mental illness

Past-year Cigarette Use by Mental Illness Status:

  • 15.8% of those with no mental illness
  • 27.2% of those with any mental illness
  • 32.7% of those with a serious mental illness

How Drug Abuse Affects Young People

The highest rate of substance use disorders and illicit drug use disorders is among people ages 18 to 25.

Percent of People with Illicit Drug Use Disorder by Age:

  • 3% of all ages 12 and older
  • 3.6% of ages 12-17
  • 7.5% of ages 18-25
  • 2.3% of people 26 and older

Percent of People with a Substance Abuse Disorder by Age:

  • 7.4% of all ages 12 and older
  • 4.5% of ages 12-17
  • 14.1% of ages 18-25
  • 6.7% of people 26 and older

Drug and alcohol use is not only a problem for young adults. Adolescents also abuse drugs and alcohol.

Percent of Adolescents Who Have Used Various Drugs by Grade Level:

  • 21.3% of 8th graders, 37.3% of 10th graders, and 46.6% of 12th graders reported using illicit drugs.
  • 25.6% of 8th graders, 46.4% of 10th graders, and 61.5% of 12th graders reported using alcohol.
  • 11.5% of 8th graders, 13.9% of 10th graders, and 24% of 12th graders reported using cigarettes.
  • 24.1% of 8th graders, 41% of 10th graders, and 47.2% of 12th graders reported using some kind of vape.

Addiction Statistics in Women

Women tend to struggle with different issues than men, causing unique circumstances in their drug and alcohol use. One specific issue is how drug use can affect pregnancy.

Drug & Alcohol Abuse in Women in the U.S.(reported in 2019), of women with substance use disorders:

  • 2 in 5 (40.8%, or 2.9 million) women struggle with illicit drugs
  • 3 in 4 (72.55, or 5.2 million) women struggle with alcohol abuse
  • 1 in 8 (13.3%, or 56 thousand) women struggle with both

Drug & Alcohol Use in Pregnant Women in the U.S. (reported in 2019):

  • 5.8% or 120,000 used illicit drugs
  • 5.4% or 112,000 used marijuana
  • 9.6% or 198,000 used tobacco products
  • 9.5% or 197,000 used alcohol
  • 0.4% or 8,000 used opioids
  • 0.2% or 3,000 used cocaine

Statistics in the LGBTQ+ Community

In 2019, 7.6 million Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and/or a mental illness. 12.9% (1.9 million) of LGB adults had both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.

18.3% of LGB adults (2.6 million people) had a substance use disorder.

Among LGB adults with a substance use disorder:

  • 1 in 2 (51.6% or 1.4 million) struggled with illicit drugs
  • 3 in 5 (64.6% or 1.7 million) struggled with alcohol use
  • 1 in 6 (16.2% or 426 thousand) struggled with both illicit drugs and alcohol

Get Drug Addiction Help Now

An estimated 7.8% of Americans need substance use disorder treatment. Only 1.5% actually receive treatment.

Help is available and accessible to those who need it! If you or a loved one need help please contact us as soon as possible. We can help you find the easiest, closest, and most affordable treatment that works for you.

Reviewed by:Chris Carberg

Addiction Guide Founder & Mental Health Advocate

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Chris Carberg is a visionary digital entrepreneur, the Founder of Addiction Guide, and a long-time recovering addict from prescription opioids, sedatives, and alcohol.  Over the past 15 years, Chris has worked as a tireless advocate for addicts and their loved ones, while becoming a sought-after digital entrepreneur. Chris is a storyteller and aims to share his story with others in the hopes of helping them achieve their own recovery.

Written by:

Content Manager

Jessica Miller is a USF graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She has written professionally for over a decade, from HR scripts and employee training to business marketing and company branding. In addition to writing, Jessica spent time in the healthcare sector (HR) and as a high school teacher. She has personally experienced the pitfalls of addiction and is delighted to bring her knowledge and writing skills together to support our mission. Jessica lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband and two dogs.

5 references
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 25). Data Overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/data/index.html
  2. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Graphics from the Key Findings Report. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRBriefSlides082120.pdf
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, May 26). Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/monitoring-future-study-trends-in-prevalence-various-drugs
  4. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Women. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt31102/2019NSDUH-Women/Women%202019%20NSDUH.pdf
  5. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual (LGB) Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt31104/2019NSDUH-LGB/LGB%202019%20NSDUH.pdf

Contact Us

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, there is help available. Get in touch today and let us guide you to the recovery option that’s right for you.

  • Receive customized guidance
  • Get up-to-date information
  • Find the treatment that’s right for you

Talk to an advocate now

Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.