55 Addiction Statistics: Facts On Drug & Alcohol Addiction

New addiction statistics show that almost 21 million Americans have at least 1 addiction, but only 10% of them receive treatment.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
November 11, 2023
min read

Addiction Statistics, Facts & Demographics

  1. There are 21 million Americans addicted to one or more drugs, but just 10% ever receive treatment for it.
  2. Since 1990, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased by nearly 300%.
  3. Drug and alcohol addiction cost the American economy approximately $600 billion annually.
  4. Of the Americans suffering from anxiety and depression, 20% of them are addicted to drugs.
  5. Research shows that the combined prevalence of alcoholism and addiction in people with autism ranged from 0.7% to 36%.
  6. 90% of addicts began drinking alcohol and using drugs before they turned 18.
  7. The Americans most likely to abuse drugs are between 18 and 25 years old.
  8. 17% of women and 22% of men abuse illegal drugs or took medication not prescribed to them in the last 12 months.
  9. The urban areas, 20.2% of people use illegal drugs while 5% of those living in rural communities do the same.
  10. 39% of Americans aged between 18 and 25 use drugs, the highest rate among all other ages. Still, 34% of people aged between 26 and 29 do the same.
addiction to drugs among americans aged 12 and older
Source: DrugAbuseStatistics.org
  • Nearly three-quarters of people that try an illicit drug before turning 13 get a drug abuse disorder after another 7 years pass, while 27% of people trying illegal drugs do the same after turning 17.
  • Before graduating high school, 47% of students have experienced using an illegal drug. 5% of 8th graders have used an illegal drug, 20% of 10th graders, and 24% of seniors have as well.
  • The leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 45 is drug overdose.
  • Every year, 70,000 drug overdose deaths occur in the United States.
  • The yearly rate of drug overdose deaths increases by 4%.
  • Between 2012 and 2015, America has a 264% rise in synthetic opioid deaths, such as deaths from fentanyl.
  • From 1999 to 2017, 700,000 people died from a drug overdose in America.

Drug Abuse & Usage Statistics

Substance First-Time Users
Alcohol 4.9 million
Marijuana 3.1 million
Pain killers 1.9 million
Tobacco 1.8 million
Hallucinogens 1.1 million
Cocaine 874,000
Methamphetamine 205,000
Heroin 117,000
  • 67.8% of around 70,000 drug overdoses were related to opiate abuse in 2017.
  • 28,466 drug overdose deaths in 2017 were from fentanyl use, 17,029 were from prescription consumption, and 15,482 were from heroin abuse.
  • Deaths from drugs related to synthetic opioids increased by 10% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Life expectancy in the United States declined due to drug abuse between 2015 and 2017, more specifically from opioid overdoses. In 2019, life expectancy increased to 78.93 years.
  • Clinics that handle substance abuse, pain management, or primary care had a considerable rise in urine samples that tested positive for harmful drugs, with 4% showing meth in 2019. In 2013, the rate of meth detection was 1.4%.
  • In 2019, 5% of urine samples has positive readings for fentanyl, up from 2013's 1%.
  • About 70% of police departments in the West and Midwest consider fentanyl and meth to be the biggest threat to American society.
  • The state with the highest rate of drug overdoses is West Virginia, with 51.5 deaths for every 100,000 persons. Delaware is the second highest with 43.8 overdoses for every 100,000, and Maryland is third with 37.2 deaths per-capita.

Alcohol Addiction And Abuse Statistics

alcohol use in the usa in 2018
Source: DrugAbuseStatistics.org
  • Alcohol causes 5.3% of deaths worldwide or about 1 out of every 20 deaths.
  • 300 million people around the world have a disorder that's related to alcohol abuse.
  • 30 Americans die daily from car accidents that are caused by alcohol abuse, with 6 Americans dying from alcohol poisoning every day.
  • 88,000 persons die from using alcohol in the US every year.
  • 6% of US adults, around 15 million people, have a disorder related to abusing alcohol, with only 7% of those people ever receiving treatment for it.
  • Adult males between 18 and 25 binge drink more often and are most at risk of becoming alcoholics.

Opioid Addiction And Abuse Statistics

opioid addiction statistics
  • Opioid abuse kills about 130 Americans every day.
  • Since the late 1990s, opioid sales have increased by 300%, or about three times over the last two decades.
  • Around 20% to 30% of people taking prescription opioids to have or will use them inappropriately.
  • Around 10% of people using opiates eventually become addicted to them.
  • Opiate disorders affect about 2.1 million people in the United States.
  • Heroin will be tried by 5% of people that develop an opiate disorder.
  • 9.49 million people, around 3.4% of people in the US that are 12 and older, take opioids inappropriately, at a rate of once or more every year.
From 2019 to 2020, the number of Americans 12 and older using opiates declined by 8.1%.
  • There are 1% of people aged 12 and older that meet the standards for being diagnosed with an opiate disorder, about 2.7 million people.
  • 96.6% of opioid abusers, 9.7 million people, misuse prescription pain medication.
  • 7.4% of opioid abusers, around 745,000 people, use heroin. Another 404,000 abuse both prescriptions and heroin, or 4% of people.
  • The most popular prescription opioid is hydrocodone, having 5.1 million people abusing the drug.
  • Using opioids for longer than three months can raise the risk of becoming addicted to them by over 1000%. The average person that's in pain doesn't need them for longer than a week.
  • The US opioid prescription rate spiked in 2012 with 255 million prescriptions, around 81.3 prescriptions for every 100 people.
  • Opioids in 2015 were being prescribed at rates that could provide the medication to every American for three weeks, with a dosage of 5 milligrams of hydrocodone every 4 hours.
In 2018, the number of prescriptions declined to 51.4 for every 100 people.
  • 11% of American counties in every state have enough opioid prescriptions distributed to provide one for every resident.
  • 51.3% of Americans in 2018 got their illegal prescriptions from a family member or friend.
  • From 2016 to 2017, the worldwide production of opium increased by 65%.
  • Opium production in Afghanistan is about 9,000 tons per year, about 87%.
  • 75% of the world's opium cultivation takes place in Afghanistan, with Helmand Province having the most cultivation production within the country.
  • Misused or illegal prescriptions are the most common substance accident reported to poison control centers, with 284,000 total cases and 44% of them involving children under 5. This includes 5,300 accidents involving fentanyl and heroin.
  • Kids being exposed to marijuana has increased by 148% over the last 7 years.
  • Children exposed to prescription opioids increased by 93%  in the last 9 years.
In 2020, 42,687 overdose deaths involved fentanyl.
  • The overdose rates of fentanyl are increasing faster than heroin overdoses by 2.5 times.
  • Prescription opioid overdoses are outpaced by fentanyl by 550%.
  • 5% of urine samples in opioid clinics, primary care facilities, and pain management clinics get positive tests for fentanyl.
  • 250,000 lethal doses are within just one kilogram of fentanyl.
  • Between 2013 and 2015, the DEA confiscated about 239 kilograms or 59.75 million doses of fentanyl considered to be lethal.
  • In 2015, 6.5 million prescriptions for fentanyl were filled.
  • In 2018, 4 million fentanyl prescriptions were sold, a 40% reduction in three years.

Heroin Addiction Statistics

  • About 0.3% of US adults regularly use heroin.
  • Each year, 100,000 people use heroin for the first time.
  • Over 28% of overdose deaths in 2019 were related to heroin abuse.
  • Because of abuse of rats and Narcan, heroin overdose rates were reduced by 6% in 2019 from the previous year.
  • In 2019, 14,019 deaths related to heroin were recorded.
Although heroin deaths have dropped in recent years, they increased by four times between 2010 and 2019.
  • Each year, a total of 902,000 people in the US consume heroin.
  • At least once in their life, 6.25 million Americans will try heroin.
  • Over a lifetime, 4.5% of all illegal drug consumption from Americans 12 and older involves heroin.
  • For Americans 12 and older, 1.5% of yearly illegal drug use is from heroin consumption.
  • People misusing prescription opioids account for 80% of all heroin users.

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

  • Between 30 to 40 million Americans annually consume marijuana.
  • 43% of US adults have admitted to consuming cannabis.
30% of individuals who use cannabis regularly have a disorder involving marijuana.
  • On average, a gram of marijuana in 1990 has 4% THC content or less. Today, the amount of 12% or higher.
  • 10% of cannabis users become psychologically addicted.
  • 17% of everyone that begins consuming cannabis before the age of 18 will be addicted to the drug later.

Hallucinogen Addiction Statistics

Hallucinogen Addiction Statistics
  • 1.4 million Americans regularly use hallucinogens. Minors between 12 and 17 account for 143,000 users.
  • In 2020, about 8% of high school seniors have tried a hallucinogen once or more.
  • To study hallucinogenic therapy, donors awarded one university $17 million.
  • About 20 million Americans have tried LSD once or more.

Inhalant Addiction Statistics

Inhalant Addiction Statistics
  • At least once or more, over 23 million Americans have consumed an inhalant.
  • Around 556,000 people in the US use inhalants regularly.
  • 9% of high school seniors in 2018, admitted to using an inhalant.
  • Inhalants account for roughly 15% of annual suffocation deaths.

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

Cocaine Addiction Statistics
  • 5 million people in the United States regularly use cocaine.
  • In 2020, less than 2% of children in the 8th grade tried cocaine.
  • About 1$ of 8th-grade children consumed crack cocaine in 2020.
  • Science 2013 deaths involving cocaine use have increased, with 14,666 cocaine-related fatalities reported in 2018.
  • Americans aged 18 to 25 used cocaine more than anyone else.

Methamphetamine Addiction Statistics

Methamphetamine Addiction Statistics
  • Roughly 774,000 people in the US are regular users of methamphetamine. 16,000 are between 12 and 17 years of age.
  • In 2019. 117,000 pounds of meth were confiscated by the DEA.
  • 964,000 people in the United States are meth addicts.
  • In mid-2019, the purity of meth was 97.2% when tested by the DEA.
  • In 2020, 1% of kids in the 8th grade used meth.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, meth overdose deaths increased by nearly 300%.

Nicotine Addiction Statistics

Nicotine Addiction Statistics
  • 34 million Americans regularly consume cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • On any given day, about 1,600 adolescents become first-time tobacco smokers.
  • 15% of US males and 13% of women consume tobacco products.
  • The people most likely to smoke cigarettes live in poverty, are disabled, and have no college education.
  • Illnesses related to smoking cigarettes affected 16 million Americans.
  • 480,000 deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes each year in America.


What percentage of the population has an addiction?

10% of American adults will have a disorder caused by their drug use at some point during their life. 75% of people don't receive treatment for their disorder. In a survey involving US adults, disorders from drug abuse were common and occurred alongside various undiagnosed mental disorders.

What is the leading cause of addiction?

  • The leading cause of drug addiction is genetics and environmental factors that may potentially alter the expression of genes. This accounts for 40% to 60% of one's risk and the likelihood of using drugs.
  • As for environmental factors, the risk of developing an addiction includes living in a problematic home, parental drug use, peer pressure, the acceptance or condemnation of drugs in a community, and failing academics.
  • Adolescents and individuals with mental illnesses are the most at-risk people for drug abuse.

How many people in the U.S. are addicted?

Almost 21 million Americans have at least 1 addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.

What age group is most likely to become addicted?

  • Although adolescents are more at risk of using drugs than other groups, drug use rates among people 40 and older are on the rise, more so than it is for younger people.
  • The drug death rate for people over 50 years old is 3% every year.
  • Three-quarters of drug abuse deaths from people over 50 are caused by opioids.
  • Around 6% of death involving drugs for people over 50 are due to cocaine and amphetamine use, while 13% are from alternative substances.
  • 35% of people attending college and university admitted to using illegal drugs instead of those acquired through a prescription.
  • Marijuana is used by 93% of college students that consume drugs.
  • 36% of college students consume cocaine, while 36% consume hallucinogens.

What is the average age of addiction?

The average age of addiction is between 18 to 25 years old. Most people that become addicted to drugs during this time won't combat their addiction until decades later.


  1. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-illicit.htm
  3. https://www.recoveryanswers.org/addiction-101/epidemiology/
  4. https://www.rosewoodrecovery.com/blog/alcohol-recovery-statistics
  5. https://www.addictionguide.com/addiction/statistics/
  6. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  7. https://www.tikvahlake.com/blog/drug-addiction-statistics-facts/