Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Statistics On Drug Addiction In The US Today

Statistics On Drug Addiction In The US Today

The United States only accounts for four percent of the world’s population, yet it consumes more illicit substances than any other country. Nearly two thirds of all illegal drug purchases are made by Americans. This doesn’t just affect the consumers’ lives. In fact, the entire American healthcare and law enforcement systems feel the impact of drug addiction.

The Real Cost of Drug Addiction

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that $700 billion is spent annually on healthcare treatments, corporate productivity losses and crime prevention.
  • A 2012 study showed that 23.9 million Americans have used drugs in the last month.
  • Hospitals have seen a 98.4 percent increase in drug-related emergencies since 2004.
  • According to a 2010 study, nearly 5,500 people abuse prescription drugs for the first time each day.
  • The most recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that illicit drug use has increased by 8.3 percent.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 account for 7,800 new drug users every day.

In the face of all these facts, it can be easy to blame the uneducated or unemployed when in fact three fourths of all drug addicts are gainfully employed adults. Every state, region, majority, minority and background is affected. Socially, many drugs are more accepted than ever. Daily and financial stresses can take their toll, leading many to find solace through drug addiction.

The Rising Rate of Drug Abuse

Since its height in 1985, cocaine use has decreased nearly 74 percent. Even so, chronic users still make up two thirds of the United States’ demand for the drug.

Illegal marijuana use has increased by 5.8 percent since 2007.
An estimated 600,000 individuals are addicted to heroin and account for nearly 215,000 hospital visits each year.

Prescription drug abuse continues to climb each year with 27 percent of all emergency room cases coming from the abuse of painkillers, OxyContin and antidepressants.

Methamphetamine use continues to rise with an estimated 85,000 new users each year.

While often neglected in drug addiction studies, Nicotine accounts for an estimated 150,000 cancer deaths each year.

17 million Americans suffer from disorders stemming from alcohol abuse.

While many drug addictions seem to be on the decline, emergency room visits and overdose cases have continued to rise since the early 2000s, increasing by nearly 25 percent.

With so many Americans affected every day, it can be difficult for those looking for help to find the support they need in their community. Such large percentages mean even though someone wants to change their life, they can still readily access some form of substance.

Inpatient Drug Treatment

Inpatient treatment continues to be the most effective form of drug rehabilitation. By removing the individuals from the communities that enable them, treatment can truly take hold. Patients are removed from their poor environments, given structure to their lives and have access to around the clock support. Most importantly, they can focus on themselves, foster new friendships and undergo a multitude of treatment options.


  • Allayah

    Interesting facts!

  • Doug

    Whenever I read studies like this, it always blows my mind. At the time when I was in college, I don’t recall knowing anyone who need drugs to help them study or do well in school… Clearly, times have changed. I was doing some independent research at a local, 4-year university campus about a year ago. As many as 73% of the students were illegally taking “Addies”, another name for Adderall. It’s supposedly a prescription-only drug, but these kids were all getting them from on-campus dealers, their fellow classmates, because it “made them study better.” It’s a real shame that the world has become like this. It’s even more of a shame that there are not more people spreading awareness of the growing epidemic. I’m glad to know that this data is here on this website. And, I’m glad to know that there are people like you, doing something to make it better.

  • Josie H

    I think it’s our cultures quick give a pill for everything attitude that starts the trend in other countries like in Europe they tell you to go get a massage and hit the sauna if you have a headache. Here you take a pill for every ache and pain. It’s so important to be able to handle ones issues in a healthier manner so they don’t start going down the wrong slippery slope.

  • S Cavataio

    That information is overwhelming to think about and how it is consuming the American public at the rate that your saying,

  • Angie

    Drug rates seem to be sky rocketing. Hopefully, people can acknowledge that they have a problem and can seek a great inpatient treatment facility. It can be difficult to recover from an addiction, but having staff that care and want to help you get to where you are clean and sober and life is bright and livable! I think it’s great that there are different programs out there so you can choose the one that is going to work for you. Because at the end of the day, no person is exactly the same, and no addiction is the same either. Having a program that is tailored to YOU is important.

  • Josue Cuellar

    WOW! I dint know drug addiction had such a big impact on our society. Never thought drug addiction was that common

  • Ann

    This is really alarming because every year the drug addiction rate is increasing rapidly! As long as there’s an official or politician who’s protecting the drug lord then this same problem will never solve or end.

  • Susan

    This is a great post. I’ve seen the effects of drug addiction in nearly every socioeconomic group in this rural area of an Eastern state. Addiction is not limited to large cities and lower socioeconomic populations. It was quite a revelation when I moved back to this area a few years ago. Heroin use alone has explode just within the past 5-10 years in towns smaller than 5,000.

  • Scott Reimann

    The government needs to treat addictions as a medical problem.

  • Viltaria

    Very interesting read! Thanks for writing this

  • Katherine Kondrotas

    Comment…Drug addiction is a serious problem in our society today. This blog is very eye opening and really lays out the statistics to show how it is the case that this is something that cannot be ignored. I have seen one person who was on drugs adversely affect the lives of dozens of friends and family. So it is not just the number of people ON drugs, times that by several and that is the amount of people affected. Really, there is no one in the world that is not affected in someway, whether they are aware of it or not. Friends, family, neighbors, hired workers, fellow drivers on the streets, kids in ones school system; drugs are a serious problem and more groups like Best Drug Rehabilitation need to step up and do something about it.

  • Amanda

    It is so sad how much drug addictions affect so many Americans today. Hopefully with adequate help and rehabilitation those suffering can heal.

  • Mosarrof

    It is really a alarming news for the USA young generation and I think best drug re-habitation blog make the peoples concern.

  • T.B.

    Many people in the US who suffer from drug addiction could use this!

  • Winchester

    So many people today are engaging in some form of self-medication via alcohol or drug abuse, to include prescription pills. I used to have a very unsympathetic view of people with substance abuse problems but as described above, there are just so many of our fellow Americans caught in this cycle of self-abuse that it becomes evident there is a larger issue at hand. Job and societal stress, financial worries, depression…. the addictions need to be treated, but then the reasons for becoming dependent upon these medications and drugs need also to be addressed.

    • Dana

      You state the obvious! The issue is, how do we help. My big question to presidential candidates, but even at that, they are all full of bull crap air. Clinton said she was surprised by the number of concerns over it. Omg! I just lost my son due to a massive heart attack from heart damage caused by drugs and he was the kindest loving sweetest amazing man, you would never know he had a drug problem, people see hear what they want to hear. See no evil, hear no evil. All ridiculous. When I get through this most gut wrenching grief since it’s only been a week ago, I plan to start doing a lot for awareness. He tried to help others so much even while he struggled and I won’t stop it

  • Dil Dozer

    I think we need to start treating the drug issue as a mental health issue and not a penal one. All these statics are frightening…and I wonder if we wouldn’t go the way of Portugal if we tried to decriminalize drugs.

    • Dana

      This is so true. I just read that scientists are now beginning to view addiction as a chronic disease such as diabetes. And these stupid 90 day treatment places, throw them back out on street as well as penal issues and throw back I to streets is as ludicrous as it can get! And to those who think it only happens to low class genre, better open ur eyes! It’s in all and does not discriminate. A lot of drug addicts have reduces themselves to doing things they would never have done to get drugs to keep from being dope sick so therefore many have felonies, drug related felonies, so they are jailed, get sick , get out with no support and in order to survive if you call it that fall back on their old ways. I couldn’t believe I read a comment on here that someone said they didn’t know how bad drugs ate, really????? Had your head in the sand????

  • Sandra

    These numbers are scary, a reminder to stay vigilant and realize that drug addiction can definitely hit close to home.

  • Johnnie Mitchell

    It’s sad that drug use continues to be a big USA problem. Maybe we should teach people to deal with crisis better.

  • g. barrow

    These are staggering numbers concerning drug addiction in the U.S. Drugs are really taking a toll on this country.

  • Gina M

    Very sad numbers, indeed. Thank you to all of you who are fighting this tendency and saving lives!

  • kris

    Very interesting read.

  • Andrew

    Is 2012 the most current statistics we have on this?

  • Rod

    Great article for fast statistics! I know these seem high but are true. Now its being decided for illegal drug to be prescribed legally and allowing more leniency for them. I do agree with some campaigns to get people to legalize marijuana and to decrease the penalties for drug related crimes taking life’s away from people who deserve to live free with the right help and support from this country. But what is best is knowing what addiction is and find the right resources to get help to control of rid of the situations that cause’s the addictions. Just some thoughts.

  • Cynthia

    I continue to be amazed at these numbers. The amount of NEW drug abuser per day is very sad. With the US purchasing 2/3 of illegal drugs, this is very worrisome for our country and our children.

  • Robert

    The statistics of 2/3 illegal drugs are purchased is staggering. The states youth have too much time and money they get bored and spend it on alcohol and pills nowadays.

  • Chris W.

    The United States drug statistics are mind-blowing. I had no idea that America had the highest percentage of illegal drug usage in the world. With all the costs and consequences of such high drug use, it boggles my mind that some groups want to legalize drugs and have successfully legalized marijuana in some states.

  • Regina M

    Terribly high numbers, this is just so sad! Thanks to Best Drug Rehab and similar facilities for saving lives! Keep up the good work!

  • Jonathan

    This article gives a valid point and good statistics, many of which I did not know. However, the real cost of these drugs stretches far beyond that.
    What people don’t realize is that it actually reaches into our pockets and pay checks.
    In many towns and cities in the us, we tend to pay more taxes for areas with more and better hospitals. There are also many goverment programs that offer medical aid to people who are unfortunate financialy.
    The money be paid to the hospitals for this care is your money, the hard working person that is not on drugs, you get penalized. And who is the one more likely to be in the hospital for drugs? The person that is “unfortunate financially”, the person that is not working but gets a check from the government to live and is in section 8 housing.
    This is a good article as it wakes people up and gives hard facts and is what exactly has to be done, make people aware of what is happening so that they can make an effect and start a change.

  • Walter

    Speechless are the words that I have for those statistics. Yet I can definitely believe them. I remember how easy it was to get any drug that I wanted any time I wanted ever since I was 15 in school. I went to a private Christian school, but even there the place was a sieve when it came to drugs. I had friends that did meth, coke, heroin, hallucinogens, and that isnt even counting the Adderall and other ADHD/ADD drugs at the time. Then, I went to college and had friends that would regularly sell drugs. I thought that was just the way it was until I woke up and got clean and then looked at how asinine that culture really is. I went to a college where kids parents spent thousands of dollars on tuition, books, room and board, and the kids were more concerned about getting high than they were about utilizing the opportunity to get educated. I sadly was one of those people, so I can totally see how every one of those statistics are true. It is also interesting that with the rise of the internet connectivity and wealth of information, the problem is not going away, because there are not enough people who are actually willing to look at the problem. That is one of the things that I like about Best Drug Rehabs programs. You can tell that they are actually giving a damn and getting the word out there and helping the people within their community!! Keep up the good work!.

  • Amanda

    These facts are astounding! It can be upsetting to hear all the rise in drug use and drug addiction. You look at the situation with children taking drugs so they can study better and you have to ask is there not another reason why they cannot study? Or why is there such an increase in drug abuse. I look at the world now and how it was in the 50s before drugs were really introduced into society. You can see the different in the way society functions and is progressing. Do not get me wrong there is a lot of progression now a days, but also a lot more drug use. With all that aside, if you do have a person that has an addiction problem finding the right place is the most important. I like the Best Drug Rehabilitation programs and facilities. Go to someone who is knowledgeable and wants to really help you overcome your addiction.

  • Diane C

    Wow, I knew Americans did a lot of drugs but these statistics are way more than I ever would have imagined. Especially when you consider that there are countries out there that grow and manufacture some of the drugs Americans are using and their citizens are not using the drugs in the amount we are. We really need to get our citizens more educated on the affects of drugs on the individual and their families.

  • Amanda

    This is just incredibly sad and upsetting to hear all the statistics. There is such an upsurge of drug use and abuse and these statistics have just been increasing. There has to be better education for children and families out there! It just makes me wonder what people are telling these new people to try drugs or what it is that is making drugs there only option. I know life can be a struggle, but there are so many outlets and groups out there. I know places like BDR can help addicts start a new life and the road to recovery.

  • razhi

    Its no wonder they don’t speak about nicotene deaths because nicotene is big business. So most definitely they won’t admit chemical drugs are a problem

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