Due to the complex nature of addiction, it’s often difficult to quantify this phenomenon and publish reliable drug addiction facts and statistics. Organizations like AA and NA, are notoriously tight-lipped about their results, and drug rehab centers can only speak from their own experience.

It’s equally difficult to make a decision regarding your drug use and your health, without access to these figures.

There are some things you can put numbers to when it comes to drug use and drug addiction treatment. Keep reading for more facts about drugs and addiction that could help you change your life forever.

Worldwide Drug Abuse Statistics

If you’re concerned about your use of drugs or alcohol, you’re not alone.

A 2016 study revealed that approximately 62 million people worldwide suffered from a drug use problem. The main drugs associated with these problems were cannabis (33%) and opioids (42%).

Of these people, 20 million were female, and 40 million where men. Globally, health experts recorded around 144,00 drug-related deaths.

Facts About Drug Addiction in America

In the USA, the picture’s equally dreary. A year earlier, a study reported nearly 21 million Americans over the age of 12 with a substance abuse problem.

At least 4% of these were teenagers. That amounts to one in every twenty-five people aged between 12 and 17 with a substance abuse problem of sorts.

Prescription Drug Addiction Facts

Opioids in the form of prescription painkillers are by far the most widely abused substances in the USA. At least 26.4 million people worldwide use these drug addiction facts incorrectly, and 2.1 million of them are American.

Shockingly Americans consume almost 100% of the drug hydrocodone (Vicodin) and 80% of oxycodone (Percocet) on Earth. Between 2 and 29% of people who take these common, widely available drugs end up misusing them.

To make matters worse, sales of opioid painkillers have risen 300% since 1999.

Who Misuse Painkillers Run?

It’s estimated that about 10% of people who misuse painkillers run the risk of developing a serious addiction to them. Unfortunately, people with prescription painkillers also think it’s okay to share their pain relievers, unaware of the harm they can do.

Drugs are the cause of 90% of poisoning deaths in the USA.

Between 1999 and 2017, almost 400,000 Americans died from opioid abuse, and 47,600 of these occurred in 2017. That amounts to 130 people per day.

Apart from painkillers, there are numerous other drugs that addicts misuse, these include a variety of sleeping pills and benzodiazepines. About 4% of adults in the USA use sleeping pills, and doctors write out 50 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines every year!

Illegal Drug Addiction Facts

Opioids, although harmful and addictive, are legal drugs. Yet, there are a host of other addictive pharmaceuticals that fall foul of the law. These include:

  • Cocaine
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Hallucinogens
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • Marijuana
  • Meth
  • Synthetic Marijuana

These drugs are illegal for good reason. That is, they’re highly addictive and most of them can be deadly when misused.

More About Heroine

Statistics show that around 4 to 6% of people who misuse heroin, started their addiction journey with prescription opioids. Likewise, 23% of heroin addicts are also addicted to pain-relieving opioids.

Other substances abused by heroin addicts include alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis.

Even on its own, heroin is highly addictive, and about 25% of people who use it develop a serious treatment foe drug addiction.

About 30% of law enforcement officers see meth as the most abused and most damaging drugs available though. This drug’s responsible for the highest death rats in stimulant-related overdoses. Almost 6,000 people die every year from meth overdoses.

Cocaine Facts

Cocaine is another one of the most widely used illegal drugs. About 2 million Americans take cocaine regularly, and it’s linked to 1 in 5 overdose-related deaths.

Almost 4% of students in grade 12 admit to having tried cocaine.


Marijuana is another popular drug of choice and one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world. Around 22 million people in the USA have tried marijuana at least once.

It’s important to note that while marijuana does contain traces of CBD, it’s the hallucinogenic THC in marijuana that’s used for recreational effect. CBD derived from the THC-free hemp plant isn’t considered an illicit drug.

There’s no doubt these statistics are dire, but there’s a silver lining for struggling drug addiction facts.

No matter what addiction people struggle with, they can recover. With appropriate treatment, every addict has the potential to lead a fulfilling and purposeful life, free from the ravages of addiction.

Rehabilitation Statistics

It may seem callous, but the only way to know if an addict has succeeded in their recovery is if they die sober. That’s because there’s still a risk they may relapse even after decades of sobriety.

Relapse doesn’t always mean treatment’s failed either. For some, relapse is part of their journey toward more lasting recovery.

However, for clarity’s sake, studies usually regard five years of abstinence as a reason for celebration. With this in mind, it’s estimated that only 15% of recovering addicts who have abstained for 5 years or more will relapse.

Incredibly Challenging to quit Drugs

The real problem is that only one-fifth of Americans struggling with addiction ever sign up for a rehab program, despite the wide variety of options available.

It’s incredibly challenging to quit drugs without access to expert counseling and medical supervision, so many people who try to stop on their own end up in a never-ending cycle quitting and relapsing soon after.

The best hope for anyone suffering from an addiction is to seek help before it’s too late.

Do You Need More Facts?

Putting this drug addiction facts and figures to situations, helps people get to grips with them, and gain a more holistic idea of how they work.

We hope these drug addiction facts have helped you gain a better perspective on the realities of substance abuse. If you’re concerned about your own or a significant other’s use of alcohol or drugs, it’s vitally important to reach out for help as soon as you can.

Please read our blog for more information on how to find the help you need to cope with addiction, or for other web guides section.

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