Drug abuse is a common topic in the media. Many people see headlines that reference increases in drug use and expanding epidemics. However, they don’t fully understand how serious the situation is. Looking at drug abuse statistics can put the problem into perspective.

About Drug Abuse Statistics

It’s difficult to truly understand the drug problem because the statistics don’t come from just one place. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is one source for substance use statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another. Getting a clear picture of drug abuse requires educating yourself and looking through multiple sources.

Illicit Drug Use

Sad woman thinking about drug abuse statistics | Soledad House

According to the 2016 NSDUH, 28.6 million people used illicit drugs in the 30 days before the survey. This number is equivalent to 10.6 percent of Americans. The bigger concern is that it equals about 25 percent of young people between 18 and 25. Also, of concern is that respondents to this survey were as young as 12 years old.

The 2016 illicit drug use estimates indicate that cannabis was one of the primary drivers. The survey found that 24 million people used cannabis in 2016. Smaller numbers of people used cocaine, meth, heroin, and prescription drugs.

Alcohol Use

The 2016 NSDUH also collected alcohol use statistics. It found that 136.7 million people as young as 12 years old used alcohol in the month prior to the study. Of these, 65.3 million people reported binge drinking, and 16.3 million reported heavy drinking.

Among underage respondents between the ages of 12 and 20, 7.3 million used alcohol. The equivalent is about 20 percent of underage Americans. It’s worrisome that 4.5 million of them reported binge drinking, and 1.1 million reported heavy drinking.

Prescription Drug Use

Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest-growing problems, especially when it comes to opioids. In 2016, 3.3 million people reported misusing prescription painkillers in the 30 days before the NSDUH. Among youngsters aged 12 to 17, 239,000 of them abused pain relievers. Also, 631,000 young adults between 18 and 25 misused them.

Tranquilizer misuse was a problem for 2 million people, and stimulant misuse was an issue for 1.7 million people. Among the tranquilizer users, 536,000 were 18 to 25 years old. For stimulants, about 767,000 young adults misused the drugs. Sedative abuse was a problem too with about 497,000 people reporting it.

Overdose Deaths

Although fewer in number than drug abuse statistics, the overdose death toll is a serious problem. In 2016, estimates indicate that more than 64,000 people died from drug overdose. This figure, which nearly doubled from 10 years ago, includes illicit and prescription drug overdose deaths. Among these deaths, more than 20,000 were the result of fentanyl and fentanyl analog overdoses, which are opioids.

Overcome Drug Abuse Today

It’s important for people with substance use disorder to get treatment because it can prevent overdose and death. Soledad House offers substance abuse and addiction treatment to women. We use a variety of rehab programs, including:

Don’t become another drug use statistic. Get help for your disorder, and you could save your life. Call 866-314-3222 to start the treatment process.