Read these 10 Substance Abuse Statistics Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Substance Abuse tips and hundreds of other topics.
It is estimated that deaths related to alcohol consumption (liver failure, strokes, driving) reach about 100,000 people per year. To put this into perspective, it is also estimated that in 2002 over 16,000 people died from all drug overdoses combined. In other words, although alcohol is a legal drug, it is far more accessible and even more dangerous to the body over a long period of time (it should also be considered that those abusing drugs are usually drinking in conjunction with their drug use). A frightening statistic, according to Mother's Against Drunk Driving, is that alcohol consumption/abuse is responsible for the death(s) of 6.5 times more teenagers than all other combined drugs. Also, even though drinking socially is a common occurrence, about 18 percent of the population will eventually struggle with an alcohol abuse problem.
These statistics may seem high, and that is because the alcohol related, societal and health problems are quite severe. So don't be fooled by a fancy label or a beautiful woman sipping a chardonnay. The realities can certainly be less romantic.
Ecstasy ("E") can also be referred to as "Adam" or "the love drug," and is frequently used in club settings to achieve a "free" or "uninhibited" state. Not unlike that good old "gateway" drug marijuana, those who use ecstasy are more likely to use and abuse other illicit drugs. That being said, ecstasy also tends to be popular among teen populations.
One frightening statistic, according to Partnership for a Drug-Free America, is that emergency visits linked to ecstasy use increased by approximately 2000 percent between 1994 and 2002. It's also reported that ecstasy tends to be the least popular drug discussed between parents and their kids.
Death statistics related to ecstasy tend to be reported at lower rates. According to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Statistics by SAMHSA, deaths related to sole use of ecstasy were approximately 60 people out of 3,000,000 reported users. It must be noted, however, that if users were mixing multiple drugs, it may be difficult to determine the drug (or combination of) that was the direct cause of death.
Heroin is a member of the opioid family and considered the most addictive and widely used member of the bunch. Heroin is often injected, but can also be snorted or smoked. According to statistics researched and provided by In the Know Zone , between 1993 and 1999 the number of heroin users that reported past-month use almost tripled. Additionally, it was found that as of 2001, the number of emergency visits that had some relationship to heroine use was up to 14%. Another interesting statistic is that even though it is estimated that over 80% of heroine users use with another person, over 80% of those same users are found alone upon death.
Interestingly, according to the 2005 study for National Survey on Drug Use and Health , more Americans (over age 12) report at least one use of heroin over a lifetime (3.5 million). Interestingly, however, the prevalence of heroin use reported over a lifetime in cases of state and federal incarceration is far lower than use reported in the same study regarding cocaine. Use at least once in a lifetime for these groups was reported at 23.4 % (state prisoners) and 17.9 % (federal).
Inhalants can refer to the use of chemical substances, such as aerosols, gasses, and cleaning agents to get high. While inhalants are not as widely researched and discussed as other drugs, they are indicated as a serious problem related to teenage, drug-related deaths. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, which accounts for over 50% of inhalant related deaths, can affect the user even upon the first attempt to inhale. In fact, according to drug statistics on In the Know Zone , 22% of people who died from inhalant related SSDS were first time users. Suffocation and vomit in the lungs are two other contributors to death by inhalant use. Inhalants are a popular way to "get high" among teenagers, aged 13-17.
There are several relevant risk factors that can determine the possibility of drug use/abuse for juveniles:
While reports of drug use/abuse regarding juveniles show a recent decline in overall use, the concern with juvenile use patterns (and related behavioral and societal difficulties) is being addressed on a national level. A 2006 Monitoring the Future study reported that 36.5 % of 12th graders reported use within the last year. 21.5% of that same group reported use over the past month. Other research reports that engagement in relational, youth activities appears to decrease the overall tendency of use/abuse patterns among juveniles.
One would be remiss to provide a series of tips related to drug use/abuse statistics and not mention both the rampant use of and the detrimental effects of nicotine use and abuse. Whether you use/abuse alcohol and other drugs or not, nicotine statistics offer a stark perspective.
People often disregard the outrageous danger of illness and death related to cigarette smoking. The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 100,000 Americans die per year related to alcohol abuse (relative to about 200 million reported drinkers), but that out of 100 million smokers, there are approximately 400,000 deaths. According to Terry Martin's Global Smoking Statistics for 2002, the "prognosis" for smokers looks grim. The estimate is that if smoking trends do not change, that 2030 will see the death of one in six people to smoking related illnesses.
While drug abuse was once considered a "man disease," the research regarding women and addiction is gaining prevalence. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University conducted a 2005 study on young women and drug use. It was found that women aged eight to 22 years old abuse drugs for reasons different than men. The differences are not clearly indicated, but it may also be that women find that different reasons are more "socially acceptable" to report, because of the stigma not only related to substance abuse, but to women and abuse in particular.
A 2004 report of nationwide admissions into drug treatment facilities showed that women made up 31.5% of this population. The important thing to note here is that the percentage is not only high, but it also only accounts for the women who actually admitted themselves (or were court mandated) for treatment. There are numerous mothers, housewives and very successful women whom suffer silently because they do not understand and/or believe that women can or do have substance abuse problems. It is possible, then, that women are less likely to report difficulties and/or less likely to receive treatment for substance related difficulties. The studies regarding drug type related to female abuse show similar trends to the drugs reported in overall population categories. Just as more people overall tend to use (or report use of) marijuana, more women reported use of marijuana on a regular basis than of consumption of other drugs.
Drug use is also positively correlated with female incarceration. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 59.3% of state female prisoners and 47.6% of federal female prisoners reported use within the month of arrest (2004).
Marijuana is often referred to as the "gateway drug," indicating that use of marijuana can easily lead to exploration of and even addiction to more potent and even more dangerous substances. For that reason, it is not surprising that according to the 2005 report by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health , 97.5 million Americans (12 and older) used the substance at least once. It is important here to acknowledge the term "at least;" this only means one use per lifetime at a minimum.
In terms of prevalence of use of marijuana relative to those who were incarcerated in state and federal prisons between 1997 and 2004, the numbers are stark. Seventy-seven percent of state prisoners reported some use of marijuana prior to incarceration, as did 71.2 % of federal prisoners. These high percentages support the studies that show marijuana as a drug that leads to use of other substances. It should also be considered when reviewing these statistics that more people may be likely to report marijuana use, as it is more "acceptable" than use of drugs like heroine and/or cocaine.
Illegal drug overdose, while a significant problem, does not kill nearly as many people per year as alcohol abuse and misuse. That being said, however, the statistics regarding drug-related deaths are stark.
According to Medical News Today , there was a marked increase between the number of drug related deaths between 1979 and 1990 (5.3% per year) and between 1990 and 2002 (18.1% per year). Interestingly, the majority of these deaths are reported as being related to opioid-type pain killers (it should be noted, however, that it may be more "acceptable" to report pain killers on a death certificate than heroin consumption, so the research will be affected by such lack of control). Regardless of any deviances in research, these facts certainly highlight that drug use/abuse is a serious problem. The truth is, the easier drugs are are to obtain, the easier they are to abuse.
Cocaine use patterns have been documented by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. According to a 2005 report, approximately 33.7 million Americans (aged 12 and beyond) had tried cocaine in their lifetime. More stark are the figures relative to tendency towards state or federal incarceration and tendency towards use over a lifetime. According to the same 2005 report, which surveyed former and current prisoners (incarcerated between 1997 and 2004) 46.8 % (state offenders) and 43.3% (federal offenders) of these criminals had reported some history of cocaine use.
It is important to remember that with the above (and any) statistics, data is limited by both individual willingness to report and research design. In an interview conducted with several social workers who counsel former convicts, it was found that of approximately 60-80 clients each, close to 95% of these clients had reported use of cocaine over their lifetime(s).