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Drug Addiction Facts- Drug Addiction Statistics

Drug addiction statistics show that almost one in ten people sought treatment for drug addiction in 2009. Learn the facts about drug addiction.

Drug addiction facts and drug addiction statistics have been tracked by a variety of groups in the United States and worldwide. In spite of this, drug addiction statistics are still considered inaccurate because of the way in which they are collected (self-reporting) and the limited sample size and sample type. Drug addiction statistics collected as a result of emergency room visits or entry into treatment are considered representative of people in that situation, however.

Facts about drug addiction, as well as drug addiction statistics, are collected by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The government agency authored the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Here are some staggering drug addiction facts, based on statistics from 2009:1

  • 23.5 million people, aged 12 or older, needed treatment for problems with drug or alcohol abuse
  • This represents 9.3% of that population, or almost one-in-ten
  • Of those needing treatment, only 2.6 million (11.2%) received it at a specialized facility

Facts About Drug Addiction

The good news is alcohol use and binge drinking has been gradually declining in popularity among teens. Facts about drug addiction show cigarette usage has also declined among teens. However, recently, concern has been raised over teens smoking tobacco from a hookah pipe or cigar. When asked, 17% of 12th-graders reported hookah smoking and 23% reported smoking small cigars.2

Drug Addiction Statistics on Treatment Admission

As the above drug addiction statistic shows, almost one-in-ten people sought treatment for substance abuse in 2009. Drug addiction facts collected in 2008 suggest the vast majority of these, over 40%, involve alcohol abuse. That's double the amount of the second largest category of treatment seekers, those with addiction to heroin (and other opiates), at around 20%. Of those admitted to treatment in 2008, the following drug addiction statistics provide an inside look into the drug problem in America:

  • The largest age group is between ages 20 - 29, making up almost 30% of admissions
  • Ages 30 - 39 made up 23% of admissions, almost tied with ages 40 - 49 at 24%
  • Above the age of 50, admission rates fall dramatically
  • The top three ethnicities of admissions were: white (60%), African-American (21%) and Hispanic (14%)

Other Drug Addiction Statistics

Further drug addiction statistics garnered from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA) include:

  • In 2009, 12% of people aged 12 or older admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in the last year
  • This is a reduction from 2002, where 14.2% admitted driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Adults aged 18 - 25 showed decreased cigarette use from 2002 to 2009, from 40.8% to 35.8% respectively
  • In those 12 or over, cocaine use declined from 2002 to 2009 from 2.3 million to 1.6 million people, respectively3
  • In 2006, almost 1.7 million emergency room visits involving drug and alcohol misuse or abuse
  • Emergency room visits involving pharmaceuticals, like oxycodone, increased up to 44% for 2004 - 2006

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Last Updated: 20 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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