Ultimate Addictions Numbers Post

By Anne Giles and Laurel Sindewald

How many people have drug and alcohol problems in the U.S.? What percentage? What are the numbers for men and women?

Beneath these calls for hard data is often a more personal query. How many are like I am? How many are like my loved one? How prevalent is this in my workplace, in my community?

Google the questions and clear, reliable answers are hard to come by. With the majority of the research and extrapolations contributed by Laurel Sindewald, we’ve done our best to present the most current, meaningful numbers.

If we were seated in 2010 at a conference table of 11 people representative of the population of the region of southwest Virginia in which New2Recovery was founded, one of us would have had a drug or alcohol problem in the last year.*
numbers

How many Americans have substance abuse problems?

Approximately 21.6 million Americans aged 12 or older are classified with substance dependence or abuse. That’s 8.2% of the population aged 12 or older.

How many men?

10.8% of American men aged 12 or older have substance dependence or abuse.  Using 2013 census data, we can estimate that this means 14 million American men aged 12 or older have substance dependence or abuse.

How many women?

5.8% of American women aged 12 or older have substance dependence or abuse. Using 2013 census data, we can estimate that almost 8 million American women aged 12 or older have substance dependence or abuse.

How many children?

5.2% of adolescent Americans aged 12 to 17 are classified with substance dependence or abuse. That means over a million adolescents have substance dependence or abuse in America.

17.3% of young adult Americans aged 18 to 25 are classified with substance dependence or abuse. This is 5 and 3/4 million young adult Americans classified with substance dependence or abuse.

What races have the highest prevalence of substance abuse problems?

In 2013, of those 12 or older, American Indians or Alaska Natives had the highest proportion of illicit drug use at 14.9%. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders had the second highest proportion of illicit drug use at 11.3%. 8.6% of Hispanic Americans used illicit drugs, 8.4% of White Americans, 7.4% African Americans, 4.6% of Asians, and 10.9% of those reporting two or more races.

How many people with substance abuse problems have co-occurring mental disorders?

Approximately 6 out of every 10 substance abusers have one or more other mental disorders.

About 37 percent of individuals diagnosed with alcohol dependence or abuse and 53 percent of individuals diagnosed with drug dependence or abuse have at least one co-occurring mental disorder.

A 1997 study of 719 addicts found that 47% of their sample had one or more comorbid mental disorders. The most prevalent mental disorders were antisocial personality disorder (25.1%) and depression (15.8%).

How many people with substance abuse problems are homeless or in poverty?

It is estimated that 34.7% of homeless people in the U.S. suffer from substance use disorders.

Of the people in America who are chronically homeless, an estimated 30% have mental health conditions, and 50% have co-occurring substance use problems.

How much is crime associated with addiction?

A survey conducted in 2004 found that 32% of state and 26% of federal prisoners committed their offense while under the influence of drugs.

A meta-study of 7563 prisoners in 2006 found that alcohol abuse and dependence ranged from 18-30% among male prisoners and 10-24% in female prisoners. 10-48% of male prisoners and 30-60% of female prisoners were estimated to have drug abuse problems or dependence.

Almost 50% of federal inmates were incarcerated for drug offenses in 2014.

How many people in the U.S. abuse or are dependent upon tobacco?

18% of all Americans, or 56.5 million, smoke tobacco as of 2012.  Specifically, 21% of men, or 32.5 million, and 16% of women, or 25.5 million, smoke tobacco in the U.S.

How many people in the U.S. abuse or are dependent upon alcohol?

In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million are classified with alcohol dependence or abuse. That’s about 5.4% of all Americans in 2013 and 1 of every 12 adults.

How many people in the U.S. abuse or are dependent on illicit drugs?

6.9 million Americans, or 2.2%, have illicit drug dependence or abuse.

How does education affect substance dependence or abuse?

There was a correlation between level of education and rates of illicit drug dependence or abuse in this population: college graduates had the lowest rates (0.9%), followed by those with some college education (2.1%) and those who did not graduate from high school (2.5%).

What is the association between addiction and employment?

Unemployed adults aged 18 or older had a much higher rate of current illicit drug use (15.2%) than those who were employed full time (9.5%) or part time (9.3%).

How many people in the U.S. abuse or are dependent upon pain relievers?

1.9 million Americans (0.6%) have pain reliever dependence or abuse.

How does geographic area affect substance abuse or dependence?

Rates of illicit drug or alcohol dependence and abuse of people 12 or older were about the same across the country, with 8.9% in the West, 8.3% in the Northeast, 8.2% in the Midwest, and 7.8% in the South.

Rates of illicit drug or alcohol dependence and abuse of people 12 or older were higher in metropolitan areas, at 8.6%, than in nonmetropolitan areas, 6.6%.

How many people with substance abuse or dependence have a history of past trauma?

Up to 3/4 of people who survive violence or other trauma have drinking problems.

*New River Valley Community Services provides this document with the most recent statistics on addiction in their service area.

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