Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics (Facts About Addiction)

4 min read · 5 sections
If you are thinking of seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, you are not alone. The number of people suffering from addiction in America is astounding. Let’s take a look at some numbers starting with adolescents. Spanish Version
What you will learn:
Drug and alcohol abuse statistics
Where the closest treatment center is to you
Statistics about cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, and alcohol use

Quick Facts on Drug Addiction

According to the 2022 United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):

  • 46.8 million (16.7%) Americans (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in the past year.1
  • 10.5% of Americans 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder in the past year.1
  • About 27.2 million Americans 12 or older (9.7%) reported battling a drug use disorder in the past year.1
  • That same year, 8 million (2.9%) of Americans 12 and older struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.1
  • 21.5 million American adults (8.4%) suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders in the past year.1

Causes of Addiction

  • Genetics, including the impact of one’s environment on gene expression, account for about 40% to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction.2
  • Environmental factors that may increase a person’s risk of addiction include a chaotic home environment and abuse, parent’s drug use and attitude toward drugs, peer influences, community attitudes toward drugs, and poor academic achievement.2
  • Teenagers and people with mental health disorders are more at risk for drug use and addiction than other populations.2

Drug and alcohol use can be scary. What’s more frightening is when you’re the one battling a substance use disorder (SUD) or an alcohol use disorder (AUD), and you don’t have a solution to the problem. American Addiction Centers provides 24-hour medical detox, premium rehabilitation treatment, and ongoing care. If you’re struggling with an AUD or SUD and are looking for a solution, reach out to one of our admissions navigators at

Drug Use Statistics for Specific Population Demographics

Adolescents (aged 12-17)

According to the 2022 NSDUH:

  • Approximately 8.7% of the American adolescent population age 12 to 17 suffered from a substance use disorder in the past year; this equals 2.2 million teens and pre-teens.1
  • About 753,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 (2.9%) had an alcohol use disorder in the past year.1
  • An estimated 1.9 million adolescents suffered from a drug use disorder in the past year, or about 7.3% of this population.1

Young Adults Aged 18-25

According to the 2022 NSDUH:

  • About 9.7 million young adults age 18 to 25 battled a substance use disorder in the past year, which equates to 27.8% of this population.1
  • About 5.7 million young adults age 18 to 25 had an alcohol use disorder in the past year, or about 16.4% of young adults.1
  • About 5.6 million young adults had a drug use disorder in the past year, or about 18.6% of this population.1
  • Substance use at a young age is a strong predictor for developing a substance use disorder later in life.2

26 or Older

Based on data compiled in the 2022 NSDUH:

  • Approximately 36.8 million adults age 26 or older—or 16.6% of this age group—struggled with a substance use disorder in the past year.1
  • About 23 million adults age 26 and older (10.4%) had an alcohol use disorder in the past year.1
  • Around 18.9 million adults age 26 or older (8.5%) had a drug use disorder in the past year.1

Elderly Individuals

  • More than 3.9 million elderly American adults age 65 or older (7%) struggled with past-year substance use disorder in 2022.1
  • Of this age group, about 2.3 million (4.1%) had an alcohol use disorder and about 1.8 million (3.2%) had a drug use disorder.1
  • Seniors are more likely than the general population to suffer from mood disorders, memory problems, lung and heart conditions, and chronic illnesses, all of which can be worsened by the effects of substances.
  • People 50 and over who misuse opioids or benzodiazepines experience much higher rates of suicidal ideation (25%) compared to those who don’t misuse these drugs (2%).3

Men vs. Women

  • In 2022, about 15 million males (10.9%) and 12.1 million females age 12 and older (8.4%) in the United States had a past-year substance use disorder.1
  • Men are more likely to use drugs than women, but women may be just as prone to addiction as men when they do use them.4
  • Research suggests that women in recovery are more susceptible to cravings and relapse.4
  • Women may also develop a prescription opioid dependence more rapidly than men. They are also more likely to be prescribed pain relievers and receive higher doses.5

Ethnicity/Race

In 2022, past-year substance use disorder affected:

Adequate data could not be collected from Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. However, in 2021, 20.7% experienced past-year substance use disorder.1

Criminal Justice & Employment Status

According to 2022 data:

  • 20.1% of American adults with full-time employment had past-year substance use disorder compared to 20.5% of part-time employees.1
  • 27.9% of unemployed Americans had substance use disorder in the past year.1

Among incarcerated people, an estimated:

  • 63% in jail meet the criteria for substance use disorder based on a 2018 study.6
  • 58% of people in prison have substance use disorder.6
  • Around 85% of individuals in prison have an active substance use disorder or were convicted of a crime involving drugs or drug use.7

Veterans

In 2021:

  • 1 million Veterans 18 or older (15.8%) suffered from past-year substance use disorder.8
  • 8 million (9.5%) had a past-year alcohol use disorder, while 1.5 million (7.7%) had a drug use disorder in the past 12 months.8
  • Veterans between 18 and 49 years old suffered higher rates of past-year substance use disorder than those 50 and older.8
  • The rate of past-year substance use disorder among Veterans 18 and over (15.8%)was slightly lower than the rate of past-year substance use disorder among civillians (17.5%).8

Statistics on Addiction to Specific Substances

Alcohol

  • In 2022, an estimated 29.5 million Americans aged 12 and older battled an alcohol use disorder, or 10.5% of this population.1
  • Over half of all American adults have a family history of problem drinking or alcohol addiction.9
  • Around 10.5% of U.S. children (75 million) live with a parent with alcohol use disorder, based on a 2017 report by SAMHSA.10
  • An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually.9
  • Alcohol is the 5th-leading cause of preventable death in the United States.11

Cocaine

According to the 2022 NSDUH:

  • About 1.4 million Americans 12 years old or older (0.5%) struggled with a cocaine use disorder in the past year.1
  • 309,000 people aged 12 and older received treatment for a cocaine use disorder in the past year.1

Heroin

  • About 900,000 people age 12 and older (0.3%) had a past-year heroin use disorder in 2022.1
  • Around 23% of people who use heroin will become addicted to it.5
  • Based on 2021 data, the yearly number of heroin overdose deaths have tripled since 2010.13
  • Around 1.1 million people surveyed in 2022 received treatment for heroin use disorder at an inpatient or outpatient center in the past year.

Prescription drugs

According to the 2022 NSDUH:

  • The most common types of prescription drugs misused in the past year were pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.1
  • Around 5.6 million people age 12 and older had a past-year substance use disorder involving pain relievers, or about 2% of this population.1
  • 2.4 million Americans aged 12 or older (0.8%) had a substance use disorder involving tranquilizers or sedatives within the past 12 months.1
  • 1.8 million of Americans 12 or older (0.8%) suffered from a past-year substance use disorder involving prescription stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin).1

Marijuana

According to the 2022 NSDUH:

  • Almost 19 million (6.7%) Americans aged 12 or older battled a marijuana use disorder in the past year.1
  • 42.3 million Americans (15%) aged 12 or older surveyed used marijuana in the past month.
  • 1.3 million Americans 12 or older received treatment for marijuana addiction at an inpatient or outpatient center in the past 12 months.1

Statistics on Addiction Treatment

  • In 2022, an estimated 54.6 million people aged 12 and older needed treatment for a substance use disorder in the past year. Only 26% of those received any help for substance use disorder.1
  • In 2022, of the more than 40.4 million people who needed but did not receive treatment for illicit drug or alcohol use disorder in the past year, only 1.8 million felt they needed treatment.1
  • In 2022, 49.2% of Americans 12 or older who could not get the treatment they needed in the past year said they did not seek treatment because they thought it was too expensive. 53.3% said they were not ready to cut back or stop using and 47.5% said they didn’t know where to go or how to get treatment (respondents could cite multiple reasons).1
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has more than 120,000 groups in more than 175 countries around the world, with almost 2 million members.13
  • The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. This rate is comparable to rates of relapse for other chronic diseases such as hypertension or asthma.14
  • According to the 2022 NSDUH, 2.4 million Americans 12 years old or older (0.8%) underwent addiction treatment that utilized medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in the past year.1
  • In 2022, around 4.3 million Americans 12 or older (4.6%) received treatment for alcohol use disorder in the past year.
  • Addiction is considered a highly treatable condition, and recovery is attainable. Of the 29 million adults in America who feel they have or have had a substance use problem, around 21.3 million (71%) say they are in recovery.1
Need more info?
American Addiction Centers Photo
Take the first step towards recovery.
American Addiction Centers Photo
Make the process simple. Ensure your benefits cover treatment.
American Addiction Centers Photo
Explore American Addiction Centers locations nationwide.
View Our Treatment Centers