Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics

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Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people in the United States. By developing an awareness of alcohol and drug abuse statistics, it is possible to better understand how specific substances can impact your life. Most importantly, addiction statistics show that, if you are struggling with addiction or you know someone who is, you are certainly not alone. Read on and browse a variety of U.S. addiction statistics, including:

  • Drug abuse statistics.
  • Alcohol abuse statistics.
  • Alcohol abuse facts.
  • Drug usage statistics.
  • Statistics for drug addiction treatment.

Drug Abuse Statistics

Each year, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) publishes drug and alcohol abuse statistics in NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health). Here are some striking 2021 drug use statistics:

  • Heroin: Out of the 1.1 million U.S. adults who used heroin in 2021, over 1 million (91% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable heroin addiction.
  • Prescription painkillers: Among the 8.7 million U.S. adults who used prescription painkillers in 2021, 6.8 million (78% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable prescription painkiller addiction.
  • Methamphetamine (meth): Out of the 2.5 million U.S. adults who used meth in 2021, 1.6 million (64% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable meth addiction.
  • Opioids: Among the 9.2 million U.S. adults who used opioids in 2021, 5.3 million (58% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable opioid addiction.
  • Benzodiazepines: Out of the 3.9 million U.S. adults who used benzodiazepines in 2021, 2 million (51% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable benzodiazepine addiction.
  • Prescription stimulants: Among the 3.7 million U.S. adults who used prescription stimulants in 2021, 1.2 million (32% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable prescription stimulant addiction.
  • Cocaine: Out of the 4.8 million U.S. adults who used cocaine in 2021, 1.4 million (29% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable cocaine addiction.
  • Marijuana: Among the 52.4 million U.S. adults who used marijuana in 2021, 15 million (29% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable marijuana addiction.
  • Alcohol: How many people abuse alcohol and how many alcoholics in the U.S.? Among the 213 million U.S. adults who used alcohol in 2021, 29.5 million (14% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable alcohol addiction.
  • Inhalants: Out of the 2.2 million U.S. adults who used inhalants in 2021, 251,000 (11% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable inhalants addiction.
  • Hallucinogens: Among the 7.4 million U.S. adults who used hallucinogens like PCP, Ecstasy, and LSD in 2021, 445,000 (6% of past-year users) developed a diagnosable hallucinogen addiction.

These facts about alcohol abuse and drug abuse underscore the significant challenges posed by substance addiction in the United States. Comprehensive efforts are necessary to address and mitigate the impact of addiction on individuals and society as a whole.

More Addiction Statistics

  1. Addiction is a complex disease that affects behavior and has behavioral characteristics.
  2. Over 46 million U.S. over-12s reported substance use disorders in 2021, with addiction and substance abuse affecting more people than heart conditions, diabetes, or cancer.
  3. Roughly 80 million U.S. adults engage in the risky use of addictive substances but do not satisfy clinical criteria for addiction.
  4. The risk of addiction increases the earlier substance use starts – more than 90% of people with a substance problem began using before age 18.
  5. Fewer than 10% of those addicted to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs in the United States receive any kind of treatment.
  6. Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990, with opioids playing a telling role in the increase.
  7. Alcohol and drug addiction cost the US economy over $600 billion every year, impacting various sectors.
  8. More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old.

These facts are sourced from Partnership to End Addiction.

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Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Data from NSDUH 2021 show that a total of 213.2 million adults aged 18 and above (84.0% within this age bracket) reported consuming alcohol at least once during their lifetime. This encompassed:

  • 106.5 million men aged 18 and above (86.2% within this age group).
  • 106.7 million women aged 18 and above (81.9% within this age group).

Here are some more quick facts about alcohol addiction:

  • Alcohol use disorder prevalence: Approximately 10% of U.S. over-12s have alcohol use disorder, a condition characterized by problematic patterns of alcohol consumption leading to distress or impairment.
  • Excessive drinking deaths: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with 95,000 deaths in the United States each year. These fatalities result from various alcohol-related health issues and accidents.
  • Youth and alcohol abuse: Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to engage in alcohol misuse and addiction. This age group has a higher susceptibility to risky drinking behaviors.
  • Co-occurring disorders: In 2021, 9.2 million U.S. adults had co-occurring disorders, indicating a significant overlap between mental health issues and alcohol addiction.
  • Treatment gap: Despite the prevalence of alcohol addiction, only about 10% of those with substance use disorders receive treatment. This treatment gap highlights the need for increased access to effective interventions and support.


What percentage of accidents in the workplace are drug and alcohol-related?

2018 data shows that of the 5250 fatal injuries in U.S. workplaces, 305 involved accidental overdose (6%).

How common is alcohol abuse in the U.S.?

Over 138 million people in the U.S. admit to being current alcohol users, with 61.6 million admitting to being binge drinkers and 17.7 million reporting heavy drinking. Alcohol remains the most commonly abused addictive substance in the U.S.

What is the American drug and alcohol survey?

The American Drug and Alcohol Survey is the informal name for NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) published each year by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

How is Drug Addiction Treated?

The first step towards treating drug addiction is acknowledging the problem and seeking help. Substance use disorder is a chronic and relapsing condition that can cause physical and psychological damage, negatively impacting various aspects of personal and professional life, as well as affecting overall well-being.

Diagnosing drug addiction involves a thorough evaluation by mental health professionals, like psychiatrists, psychologists, or licensed alcohol and drug counselors. While lab tests like blood or urine samples can assess drug use, they are not diagnostic tests for addiction. Diagnosis is usually based on criteria outlined in DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, revised fifth edition).

Treatment for drug addiction is not universal, but rather it is tailored to each individual’s needs. Factors such as the specific drug used and any co-occurring disorders play a vital role in determining the treatment plan. Long-term follow-up is essential to prevent relapse.

Various treatment modalities are available, depending on the severity of addiction. These may include:

  • Detoxification: Detox is a medically managed process that aims to help individuals safely stop using the addicting substance. It focuses on relieving withdrawal symptoms and achieving stabilization, preparing individuals for ongoing treatment in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): Medications can be used to mimic the effects of addictive drugs, reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT is a common part of addiction treatment and may be prescribed as part of inpatient or outpatient programs.
  • Therapy: Individual, group, and family therapy sessions are often part of treatment programs. Therapy helps individuals understand addiction, become drug-free, and learn strategies to prevent relapse. Treatment can take place in an inpatient or outpatient backdrop.

Recovery from drug addiction is an ongoing process. Long-term support, therapy, and lifestyle changes play a significant role in preventing relapse and maintaining sobriety. Treatment not only focuses on overcoming physical dependency but also addresses the psychological and social aspects of addiction.

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Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse at Ohio Recovery Centers

At Ohio Recovery Centers, we specialize in offering personalized addiction treatment programs catering to individuals struggling with alcohol, prescription medication, or illicit drug dependencies.

Research indicates that both mild and moderate addictions often respond equally well to intensive outpatient treatment as they do to residential rehabilitation. Not only is outpatient treatment more flexible and cost-effective, but it also maintains a high standard of care. We present a range of programs at our Cincinnati rehab center:

At Ohio Recovery Centers, all our treatment programs incorporate a blend of pharmacological, behavioral, and holistic therapies, ensuring a scientifically grounded approach to recovery. Upon completion of the treatment program, you will leave our center equipped with strategies to prevent relapse, coping mechanisms, and access to ongoing therapy if necessary.

To take the next step towards recovery, get in touch with our admissions team by calling 877-679-2132 for immediate assistance.

Table of Contents

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn