America has been battling the epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse for many decades now. The number of fatalities arising from substance abuse disorder (SUD) is staggeringly high. In such a case, having the correct facts and statistics about addiction can help you better understand that if you are struggling with addiction, you are certainly not alone.

Today, 21 million Americans have at least 1 addiction and only 10% receive treatment for it. Moreover, 25% of people who use illicit drugs develop an addiction. 

 

The Most Commonly Abused Substances in the USA

Substance abuse can lead to a range of health issues, including addiction, liver disease, cardiovascular problems, mental health disorders, and overdose deaths. Here are the most abused substances in the USA in 2024. 

ChoicePoint Addiction Treatment Program

Alcohol Addiction And Abuse

Alcohol is said to be the most widely used and abused substance in America, yet the problem of alcoholism is often left untreated. 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder. 95000 people die due to alcohol every year in the US. Moreover, around 20% of the 28 million adult people have an Alcohol use disorder, out of which only 7% get treated. On average, 10,500 drunk driving deaths take place every year in the United States. Approximately 47,500 deaths occur because of the long-term adverse health effects of drinking alcohol regularly. 

Did you know that out of 10,511 deaths attributed to drunk driving, nearly 980 were individuals under the age of 21?

Opioid Addiction And Abuse

Opioids are classified as drugs that relieve pain and can also cause a state of euphoria. These are used in many pain-relieving medicines across the globe. Approximately 10 million people misuse Opioids every year, and about 50,000 people lose their lives to Opioid overdose. Fentanyl is involved in 19.8% of the overdose deaths. 3.8% of Americans are said to have Opioid use disorder. 7 out of every 10 deaths caused by an overdose can be attributed to opioid use. Roughly 68% of the total overdose deaths are caused due to synthetic Opioids. Fentanyl, (which is a synthetic Opioid) is said to be involved in 19.8% of the total deaths caused by an overdose. Overdose deaths involving opioids increased exceptionally from an estimated 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021. Overdose mortality from synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl), and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine, and cocaine continued to rise in 2021. compared to 2020.

 

Heroin Addiction And Abuse

Heroin is one of the strongest and most addictive opioids, yet about 6.25 million Americans will use Heroin at least once in their life. Every year, over 902,000 Americans use heroin regularly. Approximately 7.27% of Opioid users misuse Heroin. 1.5% of all the illicit drug use in America is Heroin. 

BP-190

Did you know? In 2021, approximately 43.7 million people aged 12 or older (15.6% of the population) needed substance use treatment in the past year? However, only 6.8% of them received substance use treatment at a specialty facility.

BP-190

Did you know? In 2021, approximately 43.7 million people aged 12 or older (15.6% of the population) needed substance use treatment in the past year? However, only 6.8% of them received substance use treatment at a specialty facility.

Marijuana Addiction And Abuse

Marijuana has become legal in many states around the US, however, it can be addictive and lead to many health issues. Roughly 55 million people smoke Marijuana annually. 31% of people who use Marijuana regularly have a Marijuana use disorder. Approximately 10% of all Marijuana users get addicted to the drug.

Methamphetamine Addiction And Abuse

Methamphetamine infamously known as Meth is another highly addictive Opioid that can pose a threat to health issues and can be severely addictive. Around 2.5 million Americans regularly use Meth and 1.6 million of these people have a Meth use disorder.

BP-190

Did you know? In 2021, about¬†19.4 percent¬†of Americans used illegal substances at least once? Out of the 280 million aged 12 and older, 31.9 million are drug users, with 11.7 percent on illegal substances and 19.4 percent either having consumed illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs‚Äāin 2020.

BP-190

Did you know? In 2021, about¬†19.4 percent¬†of Americans used illegal substances at least once? Out of the 280 million aged 12 and older, 31.9 million are drug users, with 11.7 percent on illegal substances and 19.4 percent either having consumed illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs‚Äāin 2020.

Cocaine Addiction And Abuse

Cocaine which is an illegal stimulant can come either in the form of powder or crystal (the crystals are commonly known as crack). Cocaine can be highly damaging to your organs and could trigger mental illnesses. Cocaine is so addictive that many become addicted after using it only once. Roughly around 5 million Americans use cocaine regularly. Americans in the age group of 18-25 continue to use Cocaine more compared to any other group. 

Nicotine Addiction And Abuse

In America, anyone who is over the age of 21 can easily purchase a pack of cigarettes. Even though cigarettes are so easily and widely available, they still have adverse effects on one’s health. Regular smoking can catapult one into critical health conditions. Every day, around 1600 young people smoke a cigarette for the first time. 13% of American men and 10% of American men smoke cigarettes regularly. More than 16 million Americans have an illness stemming from their smoking problems. In the United States, over 48,0000 deaths occur each year as a result of smoking cigarettes.  

Substance Abuse Addiction Statistics

Alcohol Addiction

Age Group Addiction Rate Number Seeking Help
Adolescents 3,000,000 900,000
Adults 6,500,000 1,950,000
Older Adults (65years +) 2,000,000 600,000

 

Drug Addiction

Age Group Reported Drug Abuse Number Seeking Help
Adolescents 2,500,000 750,000
Adults 4,000,000 1,200,000
Older Adults (65years +) 1,200,000 450,000

The Rise Of Telehealth Addiction Treatment in the US

Traditional in-person substance abuse treatment may be inaccessible to some people. Telehealth provides a more convenient and cheap option. A 2022 study, discovered that telehealth visits were beneficial to persons undergoing telehealth-delivered drug abuse treatment. Those who got telemedicine services were more likely to stick with medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and had a decreased risk of medically managed overdose. Over one-third of Americans (38%) have used telehealth for medical or mental health concerns, up from 31% in fall 2020. During the pandemic, the majority (82%) used telehealth, with 69% choosing video consultations and 38% depending entirely on phone conversations.

BP-190

Did you know? Telehealth, when combined with other treatments, can provide a convenient option for those struggling with addiction to receive the supportive care they require without having to travel to a physical treatment facility?

BP-190

Did you know? Telehealth, when combined with other treatments, can provide a convenient option for those struggling with addiction to receive the supportive care they require without having to travel to a physical treatment facility?

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Substance Abuse in USA in 2024

Read the most asked questions about Substance Abuse in the USA in 2024,

How Prevalent Is Substance Abuse in the United States?

  • In 2022, an estimated 23.0 million Americans aged 12 and above had used an illicit substance in the previous month.
  • By 2023, this figure had risen to 24.5 million.
  • In 2024, an estimated 25.2 million Americans reported using illicit drugs in the previous month.

How Many Americans Die From Drug Overdoses Each Year?

What Is the Economic Impact of Substance Abuse in the United States?

Substance addiction costs the United States more than $700 billion per year in healthcare bills, lost productivity, crime, and other consequences.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Adolescents in the United States?

  • In 2022, an estimated 7.5 million young individuals aged 12 to 20 reported current alcohol usage.
  • By 2023, this figure had risen to 8.0 million.
  • In 2024, an estimated 8.2 million young individuals reported drinking alcohol.

How Many Americans Seek Help for Substance Misuse per Year?

  • In 2022, an estimated 7.0 million Americans aged 12 and up needed treatment for a substance use disorder, but only approximately 2.0 million received it.
  • By 2023, this figure had risen to 7.5 million, with 2.2 million seeking treatment.
  • In 2024, an estimated 8.0 million Americans required treatment, with 2.5 million requesting assistance.