Drug Abuse Statistics

This webpage features the most noteworthy drug abuse statistics and data surrounding drug addiction in the United States, including overdose deaths, addiction by drug type, and overall illicit drug use. Use the navigation links above to find area-specific information, or continue reading for the main highlights.

Highlights

700,000
The number of drug overdose deaths in the US since 2000.
$34.6bn
The Federal budget for drug control in 2020.
19.4%
The percentage of people who had used illicit drugs in 2018.

Drug Overdoses & Deaths | Drug Use Among Youth | Marijuana Use & Addiction | Opioid Epidemic | Drug War Cost | Marijuana Incarceration

 

General Drug Use Statistics

In 2o18, 31.9 million, or 11.7% of the population over age 12 in the US were current illegal drug users (had used within the previous  month)

In 2018, 53 million or 19.4% of people aged 12 years and older used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs in the previous year:

  • 9% marijuana
  • 3% heroin
  • 2% cocaine
  • 7% methamphetamines

  • 6% prescription pain medication
  • 9% prescription stimulants
  • 1% prescription sedatives
  • 7% opioid misuse

If alcohol and tobacco are included, the number of Americans who were current substance users in 2018 climbs to 60.2%, or 165 million people:

  • 139.8 million people drank alcohol
  • 58.8 million people used tobacco
  • 31.9 million utilized illegal drugs

In 2019, 5231 e-cigarette/liquid nicotine/vaping device related cases were handled by poison control centers in the US. As of April 2020, there have already been 1203.

In 2018, 20.3 million people in the US age 12 or older had a substance abuse disorder:

  • 14.8 million people with an alcohol use disorder
  • 8.1 million with an illegal drug disorder, the most commonly abused drug being marijuana with 4.4 million people having a marijuana use disorder
  • 2 million people had an opioid disorder (including prescription pain reliever and/or heroin abuse)
  • 22% of males and 17% of females had used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs in 2018
  • 5% of people in non-metropolitan, rural counties used illegal drugs compared to 20.2% of people in larger metropolitan counties
  • Drug use was highest among persons between the ages of 18-25 at 39% compared to persons aged 26-29, at 34%
  • In 2018, 47% of young people had used an illegal drug by the time they graduated from high school. Additionally, current users (within the past month) include:
    • 5% of 8th graders
    • 20% of 10th graders
    • 24% of 12th graders
  • 70% of users who try an illegal drug before age 13 develop a substance abuse disorder within the next 7 years compared to 27% of those who try an illegal drug after age 17
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized expansion of Medicare coverage to include opioid treatment programs delivering MAT (medication-assisted-treatment) effective Jan. 1, 2020
  • In 2018, the most common substance exposure reported to poison control centers was illegal or misused prescription opioids, with nearly 284,000 cases of exposure:
    • 44% of cases were for children under the age of 5, including 5,300 exposures to heroin and fentanyl
    • The exposure of children under 5 to marijuana increased by 148% over a 7-year period
    • Exposure to prescription opioids increased 93% each year over a 9-year period

 

 


Global Drug Abuse Statistics

Drug abuse is a worldwide problem with some countries, including the US, disproportionately affected.

  • Between 1.5% and 5% of global disease is a direct result of alcohol or illegal drug addiction
  • Between 1% and 2% of the entire world population has a drug use disorder (excluding alcohol)
    • Some nations are as high as 3.5%
    • 55% of drug abuse disorders are related to opioids
    • 25% of drug abuse disorders are related to marijuana
  • Over 750,000 annual deaths worldwide are related to illegal drug use
    • Over 170,000 deaths each year are due to drug overdoses, compared to 105,000 in 2000
    • 50% of those deaths occur in persons under 50 years of age
    • Opioids are the biggest cause of drug overdose deaths
  • The US has the highest overdose rates from opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine
  • Over 5% of the global encumbrance of drug and alcohol abuse is attributable to the United States

Drug-Related Deaths in the US

In 2018, accidental drug overdose was the leading cause of death among persons under the age of 45. Additionally:

  • In 2018 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US, a 4.1% decline from 2017
  • From 2012 to 2015, the US saw a 264% increase in synthetic opioid (other than methadone) deaths
  • Between 1999-2017, over 700,000 people died of drug overdoses in the US
  • In 2017, 67.8% of the 70,237 drug overdose deaths were opioid-related
    • 28,466 deaths were fentanyl-related
    • 17,029 deaths were prescription- opioid-related
    • 15,482 deaths were heroin-related
  • Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and tramadol increased by 10% between 2017 and 2018
  • The average life expectancy in the United States actually declined between 2015 and 2017 due to opioid overdose deaths, only increasing 0.16% to 78.93 years in 2019
  • In 2019, clinics who dealt with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders saw drastic increases in urine samples testing positive for potentially fatal drugs:
    • 4% of urine samples tested positive for meth, compared to 1.4% in 2013
    • 5% of urine samples tested positive for fentanyl compared to 1% in 2013

 

 


Drugs by Type:

Narcotics

 Also known as opioids, narcotics include opium, opium derivatives, and synthetic versions.

  • Naturally sourced opioids are derived from poppies (Papaver somniferum)
  • Synthetic opioids are created in laboratories, including methadone, fentanyl, and meperidine
  • Semi-synthetic opioids are synthesized from naturally occurring opium products and include morphine, codeine, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone
  • Street names include Smack, Horse, Mud, Brown Sugar, Junk, Black Tat, Big H, Paregoric, Dover’s Powder, MPTP (New Heroin), Hillbilly Heroin, Lean or Purple Drank, OC, Ox, Oxy, Oxycotton, Sippin Syrup
  • In 2018, 0.3% or 808,000 persons reported using heroin in the past year
  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug approved by the FDA as an anesthetic and for pain relief. It is also one of the most abused and dangerous narcotics today:
    • Between 2012 and 2018, the number of fentanyl and fentanyl analog overdose deaths has dramatically increased from 2,670 in 2011 to 31,335 in 2018
    • Fentanyl is nearly 50-100 times as potent as heroin and is increasingly combined with other drugs such as cocaine, meth, and heroin
    • Carfentanil is the most potent fentanyl analog in the US, causing the largest number of overdose deaths, other commonly occurring analogs include furanfentanyl and acetylfentanyl

  • In 2016, more than 115 people died every day due to opioid overdose with the majority of the deaths unintentional
  • In 2018, nearly 15,000 people died of a drug-related heroin overdose
  • Taking opioids for a period longer than 3 months increases the risk of addiction 15 times- most persons in acute pain rarely need more than 7 days’ worth
  • The national opioid prescription rate peaked in 2012 with over 255 million prescriptions, an average of 81.3 prescriptions per 100 persons. Additionally:
  • In 2015, opioids were still being prescribed at a rate that would medicate every American around the clock (5mg of hydrocodone every 4 hours) for 3 weeks
  • In 2018, the number had declined to 51.4 prescriptions per 100 persons
  • In 11% of US counties, there are still enough opioid prescriptions dispensed for every resident to have one
  • In 2018, 51.3% of Americans obtained their illegal pain medication from a friend or relative
  • Between 2016 and 2017, global opium production jumped 65% to 10,500 tons
    • In Afghanistan, alone production reached 9,000 tons/year, an increase of 87%
    • More than 75% of opium poppy cultivation occurs in Afghanistan

Depressants

  • Depressants are prescribed to induce sleep, alleviate anxiety and muscle spasms and prevent seizures
  • Early depressants (barbiturates) such as butalbital, phenobarbital, and pentothal are less likely to be prescribed than newer benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax, Halcion, Klonopin. Rohypnol is not legal in the US but commonly used alongside cocaine or to drug victims of sexual assault
  • Sedative/hypnotic medications for insomnia include Ambien, Sonata, and Quaalude
  • Street names include Barbs, Benzos, Downers, Georgia Home Boy, GHB, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Nerve Pills, Phennies, R2, Reds, Roofies, Rophies, Tranks, and Yellows
  • In 2018, 2.1% or 5.7 million people in the US reported misuse of prescription tranquilizers
  • In 2018, 0.4% or 1 million people in the US reported misuse of prescription sedatives

 Stimulants

  • Stimulants come in both legal and illegal forms. Prescription stimulants include Adderall, Dexedrine, diet aids like Preludin, Fastin, Meridia, and street drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, methcathinone, and other synthetic cathinones known as “bath salts.”
  • Amphetamines may also be used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy.
  • Street names for stimulants include Bennies, Black Beauties, Cat, Coke, Crank, Crystal, Flake, Ice, Molly, Pellets, R-Ball, Skippy, Snow, Speed, Uppers, and Vitamin R
  • In 2018, 0.7% or 1.8 million persons in the US 12 years and older reported meth use in the past year
  • In 2018, 2% or 5.5 million persons in the US reported having used cocaine in the past year
  • Nearly 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths in 2017 were cocaine-related, with the highest rate of cocaine-related overdoses and deaths occurring among non-Hispanic black populations
  • Between 2012 and 2018, the rate of cocaine-related overdose deaths increased from 1.4% to 4.5%
  • Most meth sold in the US is manufactured and distributed by Mexican drug trafficking organizations
  • Amphetamines are primarily a problem in the Middle East, and Europe, however, their use is increasing in Africa
  • In 2013, there were fewer than 5,000 cocaine-related deaths worldwide compared to 10,000 in 2016
  • Most cocaine is sourced from Columbia which produces 90% of cocaine powder sold in the US, predominantly entering the country through Mexico
  • Synthetic cathinones are sold as cheap alternatives to meth and cocaine, with some far more powerful and harmful than cocaine:
    • MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) is the most commonly found synthetic cathinone found in emergency room patients who took “bath salts”

Commonly abused prescription stimulants include:

  • Adderall – A popular amphetamine, 614, 000 teens aged 12–17 have admitted using the drug for nonmedical reasons at some point. Abuse of the drug leads to almost 1,500 emergency room visits every year, and serious side effects can include insomnia and stroke.
  • Ritalin – A brand name for methylphenidate, nonmedical use of the drug is illegal and is believed to serve as a gateway drug to eventual cheaper, harder drugs like meth. Serious side effects can include hallucinations and lack of appetite.[/cite_green]
  • Concerta – A popular methylphenidate drug, most teens who use the drug recreationally get it from a friend who has a prescription for it. Snorting crushed pills have become popular among teens — in order to amplify the effects of the high. Dangers of nonmedical use of Concerta can include disrupted sleep patterns, vision disturbances, and stroke.
  • Vyvanse – Initially billed as a medication with low abuse potential — and intended for younger children — nonmedical use of the drug has nonetheless pervaded among adolescents. Serious side effects include abnormalities in brain chemistry, delirium, and seizures.
  • Modafinil – This eugeroic medication is often prescribed for narcolepsy but has gained incredible popularity among adolescents for its ability to shut down the body’s need for sleep — the perfect solution for all-night cramming before tests. It is often referred to as its brand name “Provigil.” In some cases, Provigil abuse can lead to life-threatening skin conditions and recurring suicidal thoughts.

Hallucinogens

 Hallucinogens are both naturally occurring (plants and fungi) and synthetic. As most hallucinogens have no accepted medical use for treatment in the US, they are illegal.

  • Hallucinogens include ketamine, mushrooms (Psilocybin), LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Common street names include Acid, Blotter, Cubes, Fry, Mind Candy, Mushrooms,
  • Shrooms, Special K, STP, X, and XTC
  • LSD is one of the most dangerous hallucinogens

 Marijuana

  • Marijuana is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a hallucinogen
  • Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis sativa plant with the main constituent THC ((delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) believed to be the primary ingredient producing the psychoactive effect
  • Marijuana is illegal under Federal law but 11 states have legalized its recreational use. Within those states it’s estimated that sales topped $14 billion in 2019 with sales projected to reach $30 billion or higher in 2023.
  • Street names for marijuana include: Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, and Yerba
  • 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder and 1 in 6 users who start using it before age 18 become addicted
  • In 2019, 43% of college students consumed marijuana, the highest number since 1983
  • Marijuana is frequently used in a polysubstance situation where multiple drugs are taken together, alcohol in particular
    • alcohol and marijuana together is known as a “crossfade,” and will increase alcohol impairment and speed up the absorption of THC into the body
    • Polysubstance consumption of drugs can result in dependency/addiction, high-risk behaviors, psychopathology onset or other poor mental health outcomes
    • In users with higher risk factors such as preexisting health conditions, polysubstance consumption can be extremely dangerous
  • Marijuana concentrates or “dabs” can contain 40-90% THC, which could be higher than 4 times the amount of THC in marijuana. These concentrates can cause serious harm to individuals unaware of the level of THC they are consuming or from the toxic chemicals produced during the process, such as benzene and methacrolein
  • Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) can cause other health problems
  • Synthetic cannabinoids (street names K2, Spice) are marketed as a cheap alternative to marijuana but are in fact dangerous or even life-threatening
  • In states where marijuana has been legalized:
    • Emergency-room visits related to marijuana increased by 54% and hospitalizations increased by 101% in 2018
    • Suicides where toxicology tests indicated marijuana had been used increased from 7.6% in 2006 to 23% in 2017
    • In Colorado, the cost of marijuana to taxpayers is nearly $5.00 for every $1.00 gained in tax revenue in addition to expenses such as marijuana-related DUIs that cost $25 million in 2016

 Alcohol

In 2018, nearly 140 million Americans over the age of 12 were regular alcohol users (in the previous month):

  • 67.1 million regularly engaged in binge drinking
  • 16.6 million were heavy drinkers
  • 2.2 million adolescents (between 12 and 17 years of age) drank alcohol regularly
  • 1.2 million adolescents were regular binge drinkers

Although alcohol is not illegal in the United States (for those 21 years of age or older), the abuse of it is prevalent. Alcoholism and alcohol-related accidents and deaths are widespread in the United States.

  • 86.4% of people ages 18 or older report drinking alcohol at some point in their lifetime
  • 70.1% report drinking in the past year
  • 56% report drinking in the past month

In spite of its negative impact, more Americans than ever before consume alcohol on a regular basis, contributing to about 88,000 alcohol-related deaths per year.

It is a factor in the three leading causes of death among 15-24-year-olds: accidents, homicides and suicides. Beyond that, alcohol is also the agent in many catastrophic incidents. Kids who start drinking young are also seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident when they begin to drive. In addition, 97,000 students between the ages of 18 – 24 are sexually assaulted in an alcohol-related incident.

Alcohol negatively affects people from all walks of life. In 2014, the number of alcoholic liver disease deaths was 9,388 and the number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides, was 30,722. To add on, alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. Of those, 76% are adults ages 35-64.

Over 15 million individuals struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than 8% of those people receive treatment.


Dependence, Addiction, & Mental Health

Non-sanctioned/non-medical/non-prescribed use of these controlled substances is considered drug abuse. They are likely to create physical or psychological dependence.

Common substance abuse and risk factors in the United States include:

  • Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD)- affected over 20 million Americans aged 12 and over in the US in 2018:
    • Impairment caused by recurrent use of alcohol and drugs (or both, called polysubstance), usually including health and mental problems, failure to meet responsibilities
    • Most common disorders were related to marijuana and prescription pain reliever
  • Major Depressive Episodes (MDE)- affected 3.5 million adolescents and 4.6 million young adults in the US in 2018
    • Troubling thoughts, mood swings/changes, negative behavior, accompanied by impairment or other distress
  • Substance Use Initiation- New users introduced to drug abuse in 2018 included:
    • 9 million new alcohol users
    • 1 million new marijuana users
    • 9 million new misusers of prescription pain relievers
    • 8 million new cigarette users
  • Mental Illness among adults in 2018 in the US:
    • 1 million or 19.1% of adults had AMI- any mental illness
    • 4 million or 4.6% of adults had SMI- serious mental illness

In 2018, 1.5% of all adolescents in the US, or 358,000 had both a SUD and MDE in the past year

  • 1.2% of all adolescents had both an SUD and MDE resulting in severe impairment
  • 8.5% of adolescents with MDE were more likely to binge drink than those without (4.1%)
  • 32.7% of adolescents with ME were more likely to use an illegal drug than those without (14%)
  • Among adolescents with both an MDE and SUD, 65.7% received either substance abuse treatment at a specialty facility or mental health services

 In 2018, 3.7% or 9.2 million of all adults aged 18 and older in the US had both an AMI and at least one SUD in the past year

  • 3.2 million adults (1.3% of all adults in the US) had co-occurring SMI and an SUD in the past year
  • 31% of adults with AMI and 32.3% of adults with SMI were binge drinkers
  • 49.4% of adults with SMI 36.7% of adults with AMI used illegal drugs in 2018
  • Among adults with AMI and SUD, around 51.4% received either mental health care or specialty substance abuse treatment
  • 1 in 3 received no care

 


 

Demographics:

General Demographics:

  • The states with the highest percentage of drug overdose deaths in 2018 were:
    • West Virginia, with 51.5 deaths per 100,000 people
    • Delaware, with 43.8 deaths per 100,000 people
    • Maryland, with 37.2 deaths per 100,000 people
    • Pennsylvania, with 36.1 deaths per 100,000 people
    • Ohio, with 35.9 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Nearly 70% of law enforcement agencies in the western and midwestern areas of the United States view methamphetamine and fentanyl as the greatest threats to their populations
  • Persons previously abusing drugs and recently released from prison are at the highest risk for overdose as their tolerance to the drug has dropped while being incarcerated
  • “Club drugs” such as ecstasy, meth, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, and GHB are primarily used in higher-income settings by young people
  • Among lower-income users, the most commonly used drugs are inhalants such as paint thinner, gasoline, paint, correction fluid and glue
  • Among veterans, mental illness and substance abuse (comorbidity) is relatively common:
    • 7% struggled with illegal drug use, compared to 5.3% of the general population in the US over age 18
    • 80% struggled with alcohol abuse, and 7% had an issue with both alcohol and illegal drugs.
    • 7% of the veteran population had a serious mental illness compared to 14.4% of the general population in the US over age 18
    • Marijuana and psychotherapeutic drugs were the most commonly abused by veterans in 2018:
      • 505,000 misused prescription pain relievers compared to 59,000 who used heroin
      • 10% of veterans between the ages of 18-25 misuse prescription pain relievers compared to 5.5% of the general population in the US in the same age group
  • In 2018, 6.3 million LGB adults had a substance or mental abuse disorder or both:
    • 7% of LGB adults struggled with illegal drugs
    • 2% of LGB adults struggled with alcohol abuse
    • 8% struggled with both illegal drugs and alcohol abuse
    • 3% indicated a serious mental illness

By Age:

  • 35% of college students indicated they used illegal drugs instead of prescription drugs. Among these:
    • 93% used marijuana
    • 38% used cocaine
    • 28% used MDMA (ecstasy)
    • 37% used hallucinogens
    • 7% used inhalants
    • 6% used meth
    • 4% used heroin
    • 2% used fentanyl
  • While older persons are as a whole less likely to use drugs, in Western countries the population over 40 using drugs is increasing faster than the younger generation. Additionally:
    • The drug-related death rate for users over 50 has increased to 39% in 2015 from 27% in 2000
    • 75% of deaths from drug use disorders among users aged 50 years and older are caused by opioids, 6% from cocaine and amphetamines, and 13% from other drugs

By Sex:

  • In 2018, drug abuse and misuse of prescription drugs was generally more prevalent in males than females, with 22% of males having used drugs in the past year compared to 17% of females:
    • Opioid abuse was 4% among males and 3.5% among females
    • Heroin use was 0.5% among males and 0.2% among females
    • Misuse of prescription pain relievers was 3.9% among males and 3.4% among females
    • Cocaine use was 2.6% among makes and 1.5% among females
    • Methamphetamine use was 0.8% among males and 0.4% among females
    • Misuse of prescription stimulants was 2.1% among males and 1.6% among females
    • Marijuana use was 18.5% among males and 13.5% among females
    • Misuse of prescription tranquilizers was 2.2% among males and 2.0% among females
    • Misuse of prescription sedatives was 0.5% among both males and females

 

  • Only 1 in 5 of individuals in drug treatment are women
  • Women are more likely to do drugs with an intimate partner, compared to men who are more likely to do drugs with other male friends
  • In 2018, 32.1 million women in the US had a mental or substance abuse disorder:
    • 39% struggled with illegal drugs
    • 5% struggled with both illegal drugs and alcohol
    • The number of women using marijuana increased 12.5% from 2017
  • 9 million women had an prescription opioid abuse problem compared to 292,000 who were using heroin:
    • 4 million misused Hydrocodone
    • 4 million misused Oxycodone
    • 125,000 misused Fentanyl
  • Substance abuse disorders are associated with increased suicide risk among women:
    • 5 million women with substance abuse disorder (SUD) over the age of 18 had serious thoughts about suicide
    • 538,000 had made a plan to commit suicide
    • 287,000 had attempted suicide
    • 9% had received no treatment for substance abuse
  • The participation by women in the drug trade is predominantly affected by socioeconomic vulnerability, trafficking, violence, intimate relationships, and economic associations.
  • Drug use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can pose significant risks to the unborn child, resulting in birth defects or even miscarriage.
    • Babies may go through neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
    • In 2014 there were 4 times as many babies born with NAS than in 1999

 


The Consequences of Drug Abuse:

In 2017, the cost of drug abuse in the US was nearly $272 billion, taking into account crime, healthcare needs, lost work productivity and other impacts on society:

  • $193 billion was incurred in overall costs for illegal drugs in addition to $78.5 billion for prescription opioids
  • $11 billion was incurred in healthcare costs related to the use of illegal drugs and $26 billion for prescription opioids
  • 326,000 hospitalizations occurred for nonfatal drug poisonings or overdoses occurred in 2016, including unintentional, undetermined intent, and intentional self-harm
  • 577,794 emergency room visits occurred for nonfatal drug poisonings or overdoses in 2016 with the most patients experiencing opioid poisoning
  • There are new psychoactive substances (NPS) entering the market every year. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of known psychoactive substances being sold increased from 269 to 479
  • Drug abuse often results in comorbidity- nearly 50% of persons who have substance abuse disorder also experience mental illness
  • Drug abuse affects symptoms and adversely changes the outcomes of infectious diseases

High-risk behaviors and drug abuse also result in much higher chances of contracting viral infections such as hepatitis or HIV:

  • Abusers who inject their drugs account for 1 in 10 HIV diagnoses
  • In 2016, 20% of HIV cases (150,000) among men were attributed to injection drug use
  • In 2016, 21% of HIV cases (50,000) among women were attributed to injection drug use
    • 1,814 children were diagnosed with perinatal HIV in 2016
    • 10,100 adults were living with perinatal HIV in 2016

 


Combating the Drug & Opioid Crisis:

In 2020, the National Drug Control Budget requested $34.6 billion across five areas of drug control functions: operations, prevention, treatment, interdiction, and law enforcement), including:

  • $1.2 billion to Department of Defense for counterdrug operations at home and abroad
  • $55.5 million to Department of Education for “school climate transformation grants” for school-based substance abuse prevention/technical assistance
  • $1.5 billion to SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for State Opioid Response grants intended for tribes, states, and US territory
  • $1.9 billion to SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant to fund evidence-based prevention activities for states, tribes and territories
  • $620 million to HRSA community health centers
  • Other recipients include the Departments of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, etc.

Beginning in the early 2010s, states who began to enhance their prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) saw drastic results. To illustrate:

  • Between 2010 and 2015, Kentucky saw an 85% decrease in the number of opioids prescribed per person
  • In 2010, Florida stopped health care providers from dispensing prescription opioid pain medication from their office locations alongside a PDMP and in 2012, marked a 50% decline in oxycodone overdose deaths
  • In 2012, New York required prescribers of medication to check the state’s PDMP before prescribing opioids and in 2013, marked a 75% drop in patients who went to multiple doctors/prescribers for the same drugs

In 2018, nearly 19 million people aged 12 and older needed substance abuse treatment:

  • 964,000 perceived a need for treatment, 392,000 went on to seek treatment
  • 946,000 adolescents aged 12-17 needed substance abuse treatment, 159,00 received treatment
  • 5.2 million young adults or 1 in 7 aged 18-25 needed substance abuse treatment, only 1.6% or 547,000 received treatment
  • 15.1 million adults or 1 in 14 aged 26 or older needed substance abuse treatment, only 1.4% or 3 million received treatment

More recent advances in combating the opioid epidemic include:

  • 32% decline in opioids being prescribed nationwide between 2017-2019
  • 39% increase in Americans receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) since 2016
  • MAT programs included under Medicare coverage expansion effective Jan, 2020

 

Sources

  1. WHO Publications
  2. DEA releases 2020 Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide
  3. 2018 NSDUH Detailed Tables | CBHSQ Data
  4. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999-2018, D15F907
  5. Campus Drug Prevention Data
  6. State Successes | Drug Overdose
  7. The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health
  8. Prevalence and Patterns of Polysubstance Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of 10th Graders in the United States
  9. DEA: Home
  10. 2018 NSDUH Detailed Tables | CBHSQ Data
  11. National Centers for Poison Control Annual Reports
  12. 2017-2018 NSDUH Estimated Totals By State | CBHSQ Data
  13. State Spending Addiction