Addition Statistics

28 Intriguing Drug Addiction Statistics [2024 Update]

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Drug addiction is a complex disease. Drug abuse alters the brain of the user, making the process of quitting hard.

Even though many people can’t understand addicts, and believe that those who keep using drugs lack the willpower and basic moral principles, in reality, that’s not the case.

While consuming drugs for the first time is a conscious decision, repetitive consumption can easily happen. Continuous usage alters the brain, which leads to addiction.

With it also comes the lack of self-control, compulsiveness, and difficulty to control the needs. That’s how many people end up in the circle of drug abuse, and can’t get out of it without professional help.

These addiction statistics will provide a more in-depth insight into the problem of drug addiction in the US, as well as globally, and possibly open the eyes of those who have problems with substance abuse and addiction.

Key Addiction Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 1 in every 10 Americans is addicted.
  • Only 11% of addicts receive treatment.
  • Deaths due to drug overdose have more than tripled since 1990.
  • Annual costs of substance abuse reached over $700 billions.
  • According to global addiction rates, 240 million people are dependent on alcohol.
  • Marijuana use disorder increased from 5.65% to 7.1% in states that legalized it.
  • Teen addiction stats show that 58.5% of 12th graders tried alcohol.

Addiction Statistics in America

1. 1 in every 10 Americans is addicted.

(Drug Free)

To answer the question of how many addicts are in the US – 23.5 million Americans are addicted to either alcohol or drugs.

That’s about 1 in 10 citizens, over the age of 12. To put the numbers into perspective, that’s roughly the population of Texas. This means that there’s a treatment gap of about 20 million Americans.

2. Only 11% of addicts receive treatment.

(Drug Free)

Drug addiction in America statistics show that only 11% of addicts receive treatment. This is due to numerous factors.

Many addicts believe that they can manage on their own until it’s too late. Then they feel too ashamed to ask for help.

On the other side, there’s the health system, which has been slow to recognize addiction problems and respond appropriately.

The cost and lack of insurance coverage is also a huge reason as to why addicts decide not to pursue treatment.

3. Deaths due to drug overdose have more than tripled since 1990.

(Addiction Center)

Whether it is alcohol, opioids, or cocaine, the number of Americans who have died from a drug overdose more than tripled since 1990.

Drug addiction rates in the US are growing, especially the illicit ones since cannabis is still considered illegal in many states.

4. According to addiction rates in America, about 841,000 US citizens have died from a drug overdose since 1999.


More than 70,000 drug-related deaths were recorded in the US in 2019. 70.6% of all drug overdose deaths involved an opioid, be it a prescribed one, or heroin, or fentanyl.

Drug overdose is also a leading cause of injury-related deaths in the US.

5. Annual costs of substance abuse reached over $700 billions.

(Very Well Mind)

Drug abuse amounts to more than $740 billion per year and is growing, according to drug addiction facts and statistics. These costs are related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care.

Tobacco abuse holds the first place with costs of $300 billion, followed by alcohol with $249 billion, then illegal drug abuse with $193 billion, and eventually prescribed opioids — $78.5 billion. 

Still, there are other costs to consider, that are far beyond the financial. There’s homelessness, divorce, effects on unborn children, deaths, and the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis C or HIV.

6. Numbers of opioid-related deaths are the highest in West Virginia.

(Drug Abuse)

According to addiction rates by state, West Virginia has the highest number of opioid-related deaths, with 42,4 deaths per 100,000 people.

Maryland follows second, with 33.7 deaths, New Hampshire with 33.1, Ohio with 29.6, and Massachusetts with 29.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

These addiction statistics by state show the number of deaths caused by non-prescribed opioid use.

7. Among the US states, Missouri has the worst drug problems.

(The Street)

A personal finance site that ranks the US states in terms of their drug issues found the state of Missouri leading the list, with the most number of drug arrests per capita. Under the drug addiction category, the state sits at number 18.  

8. Alcohol, cocaine, and hallucinogens are among the most used drugs in the US.

(Vertava Health)

The list continues with heroin, inhalants, marijuana, methamphetamine, MDMA, prescription opioids, sedatives, stimulants, tobacco, and tranquilizers. Other commonly abused drugs in the US include bath salts and anabolic steroids.

9. About 14.4 million adults ages 18 or older in the US have Alcohol Use Disorder.


This number represents 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. About 7.9% of adults with AUD have received treatment, and this number includes 0.8% males and 7.7% females.

10. Excessive alcohol use causes about 95,000 deaths in the US yearly. 


Statistics on alcoholism state that’s 261 deaths per day. According to CDC addiction statistics, when it comes to alcohol, it causes 1 in 10 deaths among those aged 20 to 64 years.

Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, alcohol use by pregnant women, and anyone younger than 21. When it comes to binge drinking, 37 million US adults binge drink about once a week. 

11. Long-term marijuana abuse leaves consequences.

(Drug Rehab)

Many believe that marijuana is not as dangerous, and that’s exactly what places it on the list of most commonly used drugs in the US.

Nevertheless, marijuana is a mind-altering drug, and as such, it should be taken with caution. Long-term abuse can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, low blood pressure, and severe paranoia, which might result in suicide.

12. Marijuana use disorder increased from 5.65% to 7.1% in states that legalized it.

(Addiction Center)

At first glance, this is normal, since legalization enabled people to consume it, but increased use still leads to addiction in marijuana users ages 26 and higher. About 30% of regular marijuana users have a marijuana use disorder.

Addiction Statistics Worldwide

13. Global substance use has risen since the coronavirus pandemic.


2020 brought the pandemic, which caused the increase of global drug use. On the other side, it has also affected the prices of drugs and its purity.

Traffickers must look for other methods of distribution, and the pandemic caused the shortage of opioids.

This forced the users to turn to other more available substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or synthetic drugs. 

14. Alcohol disorders have the highest death toll globally.

(WHO, Our World In Data, Drug Free)

Research from 2015 found that more than 240 million people are dependent on alcohol globally. Further data state that alcohol is responsible for more than 3.3 million deaths per year around the world.

Deaths from alcohol are high in Eastern Europe. Asians and Muslims drink the least, and alcohol consumption is lower in less developed countries. 

Addiction Statistics

Teenage Addiction Statistics

15. The majority of adults experimented with drugs before 21. 

(Addiction Center)

Addiction data for teens shows that the reason why teens turn to drugs vary. There’s increased curiosity, peer pressure, stress, emotional struggle, negative school climate, or a desire to escape.

Desire to experiment plays a considerable role, but just because they wanted to experiment, it doesn’t mean that they’ll all develop substance use disorder.

Nevertheless, those who experimented have a higher chance of becoming addicted in adulthood

16. Teen addiction stats show that 58.5% of 12th graders tried alcohol. 

(The Recovery Village)

6% drove after drinking, and 16% rode in a car with someone who was drunk. When it comes to marijuana, 10% of high schoolers are scoring As are using it, while 48% are scoring Ds or Fs.

Adderall abuse is also present, with about 7% of high school seniors reporting misuse. 

17. Teens who suffer from depression are 7 times more likely to suffer from substance abuse.

(Newport Academy)

Teens have a harder time coping with depression, which can make them turn towards alcohol or drugs.

They are more susceptible to their surroundings, and if they develop a substance use disorder, they can easily develop a lifelong habit that is hard to treat. 

18. According to general teen stats on drug addiction, 23.9% of teens aged between 12 and 17 have tried illicit drugs. 

(Drug Abuse Statistics)

Out of the 23.9%, 4% were female, 24.5% were male. The latest 2020 statistics point out that 47% of young people have used drugs before graduating from high school. 

19. 863,000 adolescents needed treatment for substance abuse but didn’t receive it in a specialized facility. 

(Drug Abuse Statistics)

Statistics on teen addiction note that only 15,000 realized that they needed treatment. On the other side, statistics on drug addiction among teens point out that 0.3% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 received the necessary treatment. 

20. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among teens.

(Drug Abuse Statistics)

According to teen drug addiction statistics, 36% of high schoolers report regular use of cannabis. The new way in which teens use marijuana is vaping, and this method of consumption is increasing, since it’s easier to transport and hide. 

21. According to facts about addiction, positive behavior and encouragement are better than punishment when it comes to teens.

(Drug Free)

Addiction is a disease, and should be treated as such. Punishments can hardly do any good when addiction is chronic, that behavior can only push a child towards increased drug abuse instead. 

Physical and Psychological Drug Addiction Effects

22. Substance abuse disorder leads to many behavior problems.

(Gateway Foundation)

Paranoia, anxiety of different forms, depression, aggressiveness, hallucination, impulsiveness, loss of self-control all fall under the effects of substance abuse.

These eventually lead to severe consequences such as missed work, accidents, injuries, or even jail time. 

23. Health side effects of substance abuse include heart condition, seizures, or stroke.

(Gateway Foundation)

Drug addiction destroys users’ essential brain regions. It also causes infections, such as Hepatitis, HIV, and AIDS.

Other health side effects include a weakened immune system, weight loss, liver disease or failure, kidney damage, with the most severe consequence being death.

Surprising Addiction Facts People Don’t Know About

24. Substance abuse facts show that early intervention is the key to successful treatment.

(Drug Free)

Many wait or fail to notice that their loved one is an addict. This results in the user hitting rock bottom, and at that point, returning to normal life is hard.

It’s best to act right away, while the brain and behavior of an individual are still somewhat unchanged. 

25. Animals also seek intoxicating substances.

(Liberation Programs)

Strange facts on addiction also include other animals aside from homo sapiens. While some animals like consuming fermented fruit as a form of alcohol, others look for hallucinogenic mushrooms to get high. 

26. There are many symptoms of substance abuse.

(Luxury Rehabs)

According to facts about drug abuse, there are many symptoms that an individual can exhibit that mustn’t come unnoticed by their loved ones.

These include isolating from family and friends who don’t use drugs, losing a job, never having money, changes in sleeping habits, finding a new circle of friends, sneaking away to get drunk or high, lying about drug use. 

27. There are always new drugs in town.

(Sprout Health Group)

Facts about drug addiction point to the fact that people will always find new ways of getting high. That’s the reason why new drugs keep popping up.

Some of the new options on the market are Phenibut, which is an addictive anti-anxiety drug, Flakka (or bath salts) which is a stimulant, Kratom — a psychoactive herb, Carfentanil — used to sedate big animals and can trigger a fatal overdose, and others. 

28. Babies born from addicted mothers aren’t addicts by default.

(Teens Drug Abuse)

It might come as a surprise, but when a mother who’s an addict gives birth to a baby, the baby is not automatically an addict too.

Facts on drug addiction point out that there are drugs present in the baby’s blood, and that the child may suffer from withdrawal symptoms, but an extended hospital stay will make them feel better.  


According to statistics on drugs abuse, addiction may become an epidemic in the US. This is an enormous issue, because only 11% of addicts receive the proper treatment.

Teens are also in a category of people that use drugs and alcohol.

Although their reasons vary, the increased alcohol and marijuana use among high schoolers must be taken seriously. 

Global drug addiction stats point out that COVID-19 brought changes in the drug market. Still, widespread substance abuse has increased, and people turn towards alcohol or synthetic drugs.

The healthcare system is still not ready to tackle these issues, and with the pandemic on the rise, things remain uncertain.


According to United States addiction statistics, 21 million US citizens suffer from addiction.

Drug addiction rates show that 38.8% of the global population drinks alcohol, 31 million people have drug use disorders, and almost 11 million people inject drugs.

US addiction statistics that include all addictive substances paint a grim picture.

Over 40 million people have tobacco addiction, 18 million suffer from alcohol addiction, and 4.2 million people are marijuana-addicted. 1.8 million use pain killers, while 821,000 people use cocaine, and 426,000 use heroin.

About 400,000 people use prescribed, mood-regulating drugs, such as Valium or Xanax. 

It all depends on the factors – country, population, and the correctness of the data, but the overall drug abuse statistics show that 1 out of 4 people get addicted to hallucinogens, 1 out of 5 to sedatives, same for alcohol, and 1 out of 10 to cannabis.

It’s clear from the addiction statistics for 2020 that drug abuse is on the rise both in the US and globally.

The predictions say that the global number of illicit drug users will grow by 25% by 2050, and the reasons vary, from availability to positive media depiction of drug use.

According to addiction statistics, 11% of addicts in the US receive treatment. Addiction relapse statistics are similar to the rates of other chronic medical conditions. Between 40% and 60% of people who suffer from substance use disorder relapse.

Relapse is considered a normal part of the treatment, and it doesn’t mean that the treatment has failed.