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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Statistics in the US

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In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and pressures are a constant, many turn to various substances as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, this often leads to drug and alcohol misuse, a significant issue in the United States.

At Lumina Recovery, we understand the complexities of this problem and believe in approaching it with empathy and understanding. Below we aim to shed light on the current drug and alcohol statistics in the US.

Substance Use Disorders

Substance use disorders (SUD) in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for 2022 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights the following statistics:1

  • 17.3% or 48.7 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year. This includes:
    • 29.5 million who had an alcohol use disorder (AUD)
    • 27.2 million who had a drug use disorder (DUD)
    • 8.0 million people who had both an AUD and DUD

These numbers show that alcohol use is a major concern for people who are 12 and older in the United States, slightly more so than drug use. However, the overlap where 8 million people struggle with both alcohol and drug use suggests a complex challenge where multiple substances are involved.

  • Of individuals aged 12 or older with an SUD in the past year:
    • 8.7% or 2.2 million people were adolescents aged 12 to 17
    • 27.8% or 9.7 million people were young adults aged 18 to 25
    • 16.6% or 36.8 million people were adults aged 26 or older

The highest rate of substance use disorders is found in young adults. This might reflect lifestyle factors, social pressures, and transitional life stages typical for this age group. The lower rate in adolescents is somewhat reassuring but still presents a significant concern, highlighting the importance of early intervention and education.

Current Substance Use

The 2022 NSDUH highlights the following statistics for current substance use:1

  • 59.8% or 168.7 million people aged 12 or older used products with tobacco, vaped nicotine, consumed alcohol, or took an illicit drug during the past month. Of those individuals:
    • 48.7% or 137.4 million people drank alcohol
    • 18.1% or 50.9 million people used tobacco products
    • 8.3% or 23.5 million people vaped nicotine
    • 16.5% or 46.6 million people used an illicit drug

This high percentage of people reflects the widespread nature of substance use in the US, indicating a significant public health concern.These statistics underscore the need for comprehensive interventions, including education, prevention, and treatment services.

Marijuana Use

The NSDUH reports that in 2022:1

  • The most commonly used illicit drug was marijuana, with 22.0% or 61.9 million people aged 12 or older using it in the past year. This breaks down to:
    • 11.5% or 2.9 million people were adolescents aged 12 to 17
    • 38.2% or 13.3 million people were young adults aged 18 to 25
    • 20.6% or 45.7 million people were adults aged 26 or older

Marijuana use is most prevalent among young adults, indicating a significant trend in this age group, with comparatively lower but still notable usage in other age groups.

Opioid Crisis

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2021:2

  • Nearly 80,411 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses.
  • 16,706 deaths were reported involving prescription drug opioids.

The opioid crisis, which has been declared a public health emergency, underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to tackle opioid addiction, including education, prevention, treatment, and policy reform.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the pandemic in the United States in 2020:3

  • 13% of Americans reported increasing or starting substance use as a way of coping with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A drug overdose reporting system known as ODMAP reported an 18% increase in opiate overdoses.

The pandemic has significantly influenced substance use patterns, with stress and other related mental illness factors leading to increased use and overdoses.

Alcohol-Related Concerns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2021:4

  • 37 people in the United States die every day in vehicle accidents that involve drunk driving.
  • This is one death every 39 minutes and an increase of 14% since 2020. The tragic loss of life due to drunk driving highlights the critical need for effective prevention and stringent law enforcement strategies.

Substance Use Treatment and Recovery

Glass bottle with a drink on a table on a blurred background.

According to the 2022 NSDUH:1

  • 24.0% or 13.1 million people aged 12 or older who were classified as needing substance use treatment received substance use treatment in the past year.
  • Among 1.8 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 who had an SUD in the past year and did not receive substance use treatment in the past year:
    • 97.5% or 1.7 million people did not seek treatment or think they should get it
    • 0.5% or 8,000 people sought treatment
    • 2.0% or 34,000 people did not seek treatment but thought they should get it
  • Among the 39.7 million adults aged 18 or older who had an SUD and did not receive substance use treatment in the past year:
    • 94.7% or 36.8 million people did not seek treatment or think they should get it
    • 0.8% or 313,000 people sought treatment
    • 4.5% or 1.8 million people did not seek treatment but thought they should get it

A significant gap exists between those needing and those receiving treatment for substance use, especially among adolescents and adults. Many do not seek or even acknowledge the need for treatment.

Get Help for Addiction With Lumina Recovery

Understanding the statistics is the first step towards addressing the issue of drug and alcohol misuse in the US. Behind every statistic lies a human being with their unique story, struggles, and strengths.

Our message is one of hope and resilience, emphasizing that with the right support, resources, and treatment at a specialty facility, recovery is not only possible but is a journey worth taking.

At Lumina Recovery, we believe in treating every individual with respect and providing the support they need on their journey to recovery through our plethora of addiction treatments and detox programs.

Contact us today to learn more about how you or a loved one can get help for drug and alcohol addiction.



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