Substance Use Disorder in the United States

About 23 million people living in the United States have an addiction of some kind. Unfortunately, this number is steadily rising. Learn important statistics about substance use disorder in the United States, how it affects different demographics and prevention measures.

Statistics on Substance Use Disorder in the United States

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Only 10% of Americans with a substance use disorder receive treatment.
  • More than 20 million people do not receive treatment.
  • Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990.
  • From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from an overdose.
  • Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to use drugs.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $740 billion annually.
  • About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.
  • More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old.

Substance Use Disorder in the United States and Young People

Young people are one of the highest-risk categories when it comes to a substance use disorder. This is because unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms can be formed at an early age. This sometimes results in impaired brain development that leads to a substance use disorder for their entire life.

Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are substances most commonly used by adolescents. By 12th grade, about two-thirds of students have tried alcohol. Because the brain and body are still forming during adolescence, young people can cause life-long damage to their brain function, decision-making skills, memory, and much more when they have a substance use disorder.

Substance Use Disorder in Older Americans

According to the US National Library of Medicine, historically, older adults have not demonstrated high rates of alcohol or other drug use or been to substance abuse treatment programs compared with younger adults. These facts have helped to perpetuate a misconception that older adults do not use or abuse mood-altering substances. The reality is that substantial evidence suggests substance use among older adults has been unidentified for decades. The aging of the baby boom generation creates a new urgency to effectively identify and treat substance use among older adults.

In fact, substance use disorder rates among people older than 50 years are projected to increase from about 2.8 million in 2006 to 5.7 million in 2020. Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among older adults, and illicit drug use is more prevalent among older Americans compared to older adults in almost any other country in the world.

Substance Use Prevention Measures for People in the United States

With such staggering numbers, we likely want to know how the rate of substance use disorder can be slowed down in this country. Luckily, there are some prevention measures in place, mainly for youths in the U.S., and there are ways you can get involved.

Some substance use prevention efforts, as outlined by SAMHSA, include:

  • Talk. They Hear You. Campaign: Aims to reduce underage drinking and substance use among youths under the age of 21 by providing parents and caregivers with resources to discuss substance use with their children.
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD): Coordinates federal efforts to reduce underage drinking and served as a resource for the development of A Comprehensive Plan for Preventing and Reducing Underage Drinking. This committee is comprised of 15 federal agencies and is led by SAMHSA.
  • STOP Underage Drinking: This portal of the ICCPUD provides research, federal and state resources, and funding opportunities to reduce and prevent underage drinking and its consequences.
    National Prevention Week: Held in May, NPW promotes community involvement, resource sharing and partnership engagement to increase public awareness of substance use and mental disorders.

Substance abuse is a very common disorder within the U.S. but it is a treatable disorder. If you or someone you love has a substance use disorder, contact Cliffside Malibu or another reputable recovery center to explore treatment options as soon as possible.

About Cliffside Malibu

Because no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model, including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy. Whether an individual is experiencing substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

Visit Cliffside Malibu to get more information.