Substance Use

Statistics and Demographics on Substance Use Disorder?

Substance Use Disorder or AUD is a pervasive national problem. Read some interesting statistics on demographics on alcohol and drug use from an NCDAS study in our article.

Substance use disorders, what used to be called drug addiction and includes alcohol use disorder, impact millions across the nation and costs billions of dollars in health care expenses and loss of productivity annually. Drug abuse may include alcohol use, marijuana use, opioid use, methamphetamine, stimulants, and other drugs. Drug abuse also may include the misuse of both prescription drugs including over-the-counter pain relievers, and illegal drugs. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) compiled the following information about substance use disorder and health statistics in the United States:

  • 22% of American males have used drugs in the last year.

  • 17% of American females have used drugs in the last year.

  • 20% of individuals in treatment centers are female.

  • 32.1 million American women have a mental health disorder and/or a substance abuse issue.

  • Substance use disorders are associated with an increase in suicide among American women.

  • 700,000 people have died from overdose since 2000.

  • $35 billion dollars was put into the federal budget for drug use control in 2020.

  • 19.4% of all Americans have used drugs at least once.

  • 53 million Americans over the age of 12 years have engaged in illicit drug use or misused prescription drugs in the last year.

  • 31.9 million Americans 12 years of age and older regularly engage in illicit drug use or have misused prescription drugs in the last year.

  • 22% of males and 17% of females have used illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs in the last year.

  • 5% of individuals in rural areas compared to more than 20% of individuals in metropolitan areas have used illegal drugs.

  • Drug use is highest among individuals 18-25 years of age.

  • 70% of users who are first-time users of illegal drugs before the age of 13 years will develop a substance use disorder.

  • 17% of users who try an illicit drug after the age of 17 years will develop a substance use disorder.

  • 47% of youth have tried an illicit drug before they graduate high school.

  • 7% of adults who drink have an alcohol use disorder.

  • 60% of adults increased their alcohol use during the COVID-19 lockdown.

  • 261 Americans die each day from excessive alcohol use.

  • Men are three times as likely as women to die as a consequence of alcohol use.

  • 18.1% of people who die from alcohol use are under 25 years of age.

  • 34.7% of death rates from alcohol use are between 50 and 64 years of age.


As illustrated, substance use disorders involving alcohol consumption, drug use, and co-occurring instances of mental illness are serious problems for millions of people across age groups in the U.S. and even more across the globe. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that most people who use alcohol and substances do not have a dependence, the incidence rates of those who do are only becoming more prevalent. Thankfully, it’s never too soon or too late to get help for substance abuse. Recovery from excessive substance use or dependence — regardless of whether the substance is methamphetamines, prescription opioids, illegal stimulants, or alcohol — is possible with the right treatment center and/or treatment program. Substance abuse disorder requires a personalized diagnosis and the right addiction treatment from a qualified health care divider to help the struggling person along their path to healing from drug use.

Caron has helped thousands find recovery and a life beyond their wildest dreams. Substance use disorder treatments for inpatient and outpatient clients address behavioral health, alcohol use, marijuana use disorder, opioid use, mental health, and any and all substance use disorders. If you or a loved one are ready to explore substance abuse treatment options, Contact Caron to learn more about how we can help in recovery from substance abuse. Call 1-800-854-6023.

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