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Drug Use Statistics

Last year, there were over 2.5 million Americans that reported recently abusing drugs.

In 2020, there’s a dangerous wave of drug abuse sweeping the nation.

We did the research for you so you won’t have to go chasing the latest addiction statistics. Here’s what we found out:

Drug Use Statistics

Drug use is on the rise in some parts of the United States and plateauing in others. For example:

  • 19% of people reported having used illicit drugs in 2018.
  • In 2019, 35% of minors in grades 8, 10, or 12 reported having used any illicit drug in their lifetime.
  • 12% of all people aged 12 or over report having used illicit drugs within the past month, making them current users in 2018.
  • Drug use is most common in the 18-to-25 age group in 2018, with 39% of all people reporting current drug use.
  • 47% of all young people use illegal drugs at least once by the time they leave high school, according to a 2018 study.

Drug Addiction Statistics

Drug addiction or dependence is distinct from drug use. Drug use is occasional, while dependence leads to constant use. The latest on addiction numbers:

  • Over 20 million people over the age of 12 had a substance use disorder in 2018.
  • 9.2 million people over age 18 had both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental illness.
  • 17% of people with drug addiction (or dependence) had serious thoughts about suicide in 2019.
  • Out of 42.1 million people with mental illness, 18.2% live with a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Drug Overdose Statistics

Overdoses are the primary reason that the drug epidemic is so troublesome. Here’s what we know about drug overdose deaths:

  • Since 2000, over 700,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses.
  • There were over 60,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2018.
  • West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose death in the country at 52 per 100,000 deaths in 2018.
  • The second through sixth-highest rates of overdose deaths in 2018 go to Delaware (44 per 100,000), Maryland (37 per 100,000), Pennsylvania (36 per 100,000), Ohio (36 per 100,000) and New Hampshire (36 per 100,000).
  • In 2017, there were nearly 5,500 drug overdose deaths in the 15-to-24 year age group.
  • The drug overdose death rate in the 15-to-24 year age bracket was 12.6 per 100,000 deaths in 2017.

Addiction Treatment Statistics

The addiction treatment industry is growing to accommodate all the people who need treatment lately, including minors. Here’s what you should know about treatment:

  • There were almost 16,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in 2019.
  • Over 702,000 people attending substance abuse treatment have a co-occuring disorder.
  • Nearly 60,000 minors attended substance abuse treatment in 2017.
  • Since 2007, the number of minors attending drug addiction treatment decreased by over 25,000.
  • Out of people with co-occurring disorders and addiction, 52.5% don’t receive treatment for either condition.

Meth Statistics

Methamphetamine is an illicit stimulant drug that causes dependence. Its prevalence is growing in some places:

  • In 2018, over 106,000 adults used meth on a daily basis, a 43% increase compared to the prior year.
  • The same year, 1.6 million adults over age 26 reported having used methamphetamine in the past year.
  • There was an 0.8% increase in high school seniors reporting having used meth at least once in their lifetimes.
  • 15% of all drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved methamphetamine.
  • Between 2013 and 2019, there was an 8.4% increase in positive urine tests for meth.

Cocaine Statistics

Cocaine is an illegal street stimulant that comes in powdered or crack forms. Cocaine isn’t the most common drug in most of the country, but it still has a significant presence:

  • In 2018, 1.4 million people over age 26 reported having used cocaine in the past month.
  • 524,000 people reported past-month cocaine use in the 18-to-25 year age group in 2018.
  • In 2018, 12,000 minors between the ages of 12 and 17 reported having used cocaine over the last 30 days.
  • 33.8% of high school seniors reported having used cocaine in their lifetime in 2019.
  • In 2019, 1.7% of high school seniors reported having used crack at least once.

Heroin Statistics

Heroin is a street opioid drug that’s part of what’s fuelling the opioid crisis today. Check out these startling heroin statistics:

  • 808,000 people reported past-year heroin use in 2018.
  • Almost 15,000 people died from heroin overdoses in 2018.
  • Poison control centers report that 5,300 children were accidentally exposed to heroin and fentanyl in 2018.
  • Over 115,000 people died from heroin overdoses between 1999 and 2018.
  • Nearly one-third of all opioid deaths included heroin in 2018.
  • In 2018, the rate of heroin-involved opioid deaths was 7 times higher than it was 9 years before.

Synthetic Opioids Statistics

Synthetic opioids have the same effects as heroin and include fentanyl. Fentanyl is driving the opioid epidemic more than any other drug:

  • There were over 31,000 deaths from synthetic opioids in 2018, making it the number-one cause of opioid-involved overdose deaths.
  • Synthetic opioids caused 67% of opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2018.
  • In 2018, the rates of synthetic opioid overdose deaths increased in 10 states.
  • Overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids increased by 10% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were part of 70% of all drug overdose deaths in 2018.
  • 67% of all opioid-related overdose deaths involve synthetic opioids.

Prescription Drug Statistics

Prescription drug abuse is most commonly involving opioid pain medication, anti-anxiety medication, or stimulant medication. Here’s how prescription drug statistics are evolving:

  • Doctors prescribed opioids 51.4 times per 100 people in 2018.
  • 51.3% of people who obtain illegal pain medication get it from a loved one or friend.
  • Prescription opioids were the most common cause of poisoning in 2018 with 284,000 children exposed to narcotics.
  • 5.5 million people reported misusing prescription hydrocodone in 2018.
  • 3.4 million people reported prescription oxycodone abuse in 2018.
  • 269,000 people intentionally abused prescription fentanyl in 2018, as opposed to most street-made fentanyl that’s often ingested accidentally.

Alcohol Statistics

Alcohol has always been a leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. It’s still affecting millions of Americans today:

  • In 2018, 118.8 million people in the 26+ age bracket reported that they had consumed alcohol in the past month.
  • 85.6% of adults over age 18 report having consumed alcohol at least once in their life in 2019.
  • In 2019, 25.8% of adults reported that they engaged in binge drinking over the last 30 days.
  • On average, 55.2% of the adult population (over 18) drinks alcohol on a daily basis, according to 2018 research.
  • In 2018, 11 million Americans over age 26 met the criteria for alcohol use disorder.

Get Freedom From Drug Abuse With Bedrock Recovery Center

After reading all those sobering statistics about the effects of drug abuse in the nation, you know that you’re not alone in your struggle with substances.

And you know what the next step needs to be. 

It’s time to seek treatment and freedom from substance use disorder. At Bedrock Recovery Center, you should expect your experience to include:

  • Compassionate treatment for opioid, stimulant, prescription drug, or alcohol addiction
  • Screening and care for co-occurring disorders
  • A multifaceted treatment plan that includes evidence-based and holistic solutions

Call Bedrock Recovery Center today to take the first step toward recovery!

Written by
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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