It is an unfortunate fact that drug addiction is truly an epidemic in society today, and drug addiction statistics prove this. The most current drug addiction statistics show that a majority of adult Americans have tried some type of drug at least once or twice in their lives. Drug addiction statistics show that as of 2004, 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older were considered past year substance dependent or as having abused drugs, an estimated 9.4% of the population. Of these individuals, 3.4 million were classified as being substance dependence or as having abused both alcohol and illicit drugs.
This is a broad problem, effecting all age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It seems that no one is immune. Some of the most alarming drug addiction statistics reflect a drug problem amongst youth as well as older Americans, a recently emerging trend which is forecasted to only get worse within the next several years. If left untreated, this problem could have devastating consequences for future generations. This is why it is important to bring about awareness of the current drug addiction statistics and trends, so that the problem can be addressed and proper measures taken to fix the drug problem in the U.S. and around the world.
Alcohol is a drug, and although consumption of alcohol is legal and widely accepted in society today, millions of individuals struggle with alcohol addiction and the dire consequences of this problem. Nationally, over 50% of Americans aged 12 or older report having consumed alcohol within the past month, a relatively consistent statistics over the years. In adults 50 years and older, alcohol was the most frequently reported primary substance of abuse for all treatment admissions. Of these, 76% were 65 and older. That's a lot of individuals consuming alcohol on a monthly basis, which is the most used and abused drug in the world.
Now let's take a look at the consequences of alcohol abuse and addiction. Many individuals who drink and binge drink, also drink and drive. As of 2008 for example, drug addiction statistics show that 31.2 million people 12 years of age or older reported driving after drinking alcohol at least once in the past year. In the US alone, alcohol is responsible for over 17,000 deaths per year due to individuals driving while under the influence of alcohol, which accounts for 41% of all road accidents in the nation. Alcoholism causes 500 million lost workdays per year, and in 2002 the World Health Organization estimated that 1.8 million deaths every year were directly attributable to alcohol consumption. Drug addiction statistics also show that alcohol causes approximately 20% to 30% of esophagus cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, liver cancer, murder, homicide, and motor vehicle accidents.
This problem is considered to be compounded by the fact that marijuana is considered a "gateway drug", meaning marijuana users are more likely than non users to continue on using more hardcore drugs. Drug addiction statistics show that rates of marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders are higher than rates for any other illicit drug. The age of first use of marijuana is getting younger and younger, and the average age of someone using marijuana for the first time dropped from 17.8 in 2008 to 17.0 in 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, the rate of current marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25 climbed 10 percent, from 16.5% to 18.1%. Just like other drugs of abuse, using marijuana carries risks, especially since the average potency of the drug has more than doubled since 1998. Marijuana is actually responsible for an estimated 374,000 people entering emergency rooms annually.
According to recent drug addiction statistics, past-year nonmedical use of the prescription drugs, including opioid narcotics, stimulants, tranquilizers and benzodiazepines, is an ever-growing problem. Prescription drug addiction statistics show that an estimated 5.0 million people in the United States alone are current users of prescription drugs which are taken non-medically. This includes 4.4 million who use pain relievers, 1.6 million who use tranquilizers, 1.2 million who used stimulants, and 0.3 million who use sedatives. Abuse of prescription pain relievers, meaning individuals use these drugs without a doctor's prescription or only to get "high", is the second most common form of illicit drug use in the United States, second only to marijuana. There are hundreds of thousands of emergency department visits involving the nonmedical use of prescription opioid narcotics, and these drugs are responsible for thousands of accidental deaths each year. When individuals use prescription drugs recreationally, they often don't realize that they are putting themselves at risk of dangerous side effects and interactions. These types of drugs should never been taken in conjunction with alcohol, but often are, resulting in thousands of overdoses each year.
Drug addiction statistics show that abuse of prescription drugs is a widespread problem among all age groups. As of 2007, an estimated 670,000 youths, 1.5 million young adults, and 3.0 million adults aged 26 or older had used prescription drugs non-medically. Rates of abuse of the prescription opioids OxyContin and Vicodin have shown an increase of the past 5 years amongst 10th graders and stayed the same among 12th and 8th graders. An estimated 10 percent of high school seniors reported that they used Vicodin for non-medical purposes in the past year, and 5 percent reported use of OxyContin.
Where do these drugs come from? Well, among individuals who reported having used precsription pain medication for non-medical purposes in the past 12 months, 55.8% said that they obtained the drug from a relative or friend for free. Many got the drug from a single doctor, and only 3.9 percent reported obtaining the prescription narcotics from a drug dealer or other stranger. Among those who said they got their drugs from a friend or relative for free, 80.7 percent reported that the friend or relative had gotten the drugs from just one doctor.
Turning our focus to what is considered to be hardcore drugs, drug addiction statistics show that there are an estimated 2.0 million current cocaine users in the United States alone, 467,000 of who use crack cocaine. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and laboratory studies have shown that a cocaine-addicted monkey will press a bar as many as 12,800 times until it receives a single dose of cocaine. There are many examples of consummate professionals, such as lawyers, physicians, athletes, etc. with daily cocaine habits ranging anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. A serious cocaine binge can cost you anywhere from $20,000-$50,000. It is very telling that someone would drop this amount of cash on 2 or 3 days worth of toxic pleasure. Unfortunately, a bad cocaine habit can result in many consequences both financially and socially including loss of profession, family, bankruptcy and in the end death.
According to drug addiction statistics, heroin use and addiction is also a very widespread problem. Americans consume an estimated 13.3 metric tons of the drug each year, and it is a $10 billion dollars a year industry. Studies have been able to estimate that there are anywhere from 750,000 to 1million hardcore heroin addicts in the United States alone. This means that they are physically dependent to the drug and need to do more of it on a daily basis, for fear of going through heroin withdrawal. While there are different types and levels of quality of heroin, a typical heroin habit will cost an addict anywhere from $100 to $300 per day. Many heroin addicts are not able to function in a normal work atmosphere, and have no steady income. To satiate their habit many heroin addicts turn to getting the drug through illicit means such as self prostitution, theft, etc. Heroin use carries some of the greatest risks, due to the effects that the drug has on the respiratory system. As a result, heroin overdoses are extremely common.
Methamphetamine, or "meth", is another common drug of abuse. It is a central nervous system stimulant, and risk of dependence and addiction are very high due to the intense effects that individuals experience while on the drug. At least 12 million Americans have used meth at least once in their lifetime. Drug addiction statistics show that an estimated 1.4 million persons aged 12 or older have used methamphetamine in the past year, and 600,000 have used it in the past month. Rates of use have remained unchanged, meaning that the problem of meth use is not getting any better. The drug is extremely dangerous and results in poor health and death when abused, with an estimated 47% of U.S. hospitals reporting meth as the top illicit drug involved in emergency room visits.
Part of the meth problem is that it is easy to make and obtain. You can literally make a batch of meth in your kitchen or shed with common ingredients that can be found at the grocery and hardware store. Individuals who manufactured do so in makeshift laboratories, using ingredients which are highly caustic and toxic. These labs often result in toxic disasters and serious injuries and deaths. During 2004, 8,000 of these labs were seized in the United States. In 2005, drug addiction statistics show that 47% of county sheriffs in the U.S. reported that Meth is their number one drug threat. Criminal justice costs related to meth use in U.S. is estimated at over 4 billion dollars annually. Drug addiction statistics, as recent as 2009, show that 68% of state and local law enforcement agencies report meth as being the greatest drug threat.
Drug addiction statistics also show alarming patterns in "Club Drug" use, such as use of MDMA (also known as Ecstasy). Ecstasy is a relatively simple drug chemically speaking, consisting of both stimulants and hallucinogens. Party drugs such as Ecstasy became popular several years ago, and Ecstasy is still commonly used in clubs and at all night dance parties known as "raves". In the recreational drug use community, Ecstasy is considered quite safe to use. However, many studies have shed new light on the dangers of the drug and it is now considered one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse and far from far from benign.
An estimated 1.1 million individuals used Ecstasy for the first time in 2009 in the U.S. alone, which is a significant increase from the 894,000 first-time users reported in 2008. As of 2009, an estimated 760,000 people in the nation had used Ecstasy in the month prior to being surveyed. During the same time, lifetime Ecstasy use increased significantly among individuals aged 12 years or older, from 10.2 million in 2002 to 14.2 million in 2009. Despite the idea that Ecstasy is not an addictive drug and there is no risk for dependence, drug addiction statistics show that 43 percent of Ecstasy users actually meet the criteria for dependence and 34 percent meet the criteria for abuse of the drug.
Hopefully, these drug addiction statistics can shed light on the true epidemic that the nation and the world are faced with. There are millions of individuals who are either dependent or struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, and most don't receive the help they need. There are a variety of drug rehab programs available to treat addiction, and anyone struggling with drug addiction can contact a professional drug treatment counselor today to get the help they need.