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Article Summary

Facts about Drug Addiction

Here are some facts that may surprise or sadden you about drug addiction. As with most issues pertaining to addiction, there are many things that are often unexpected. The costs of addiction are much higher than expected and the causes of addiction are extremely sad. Facts about drug addiction are tracked by various sources and cover a wide range of topics including crime, drug addicts, drug rehabilitation, cost of drug addiction to society, and the additive aspect of drugs themselves.

Drug Addiction Statistics

  • 70% of violent crime is committed by people who are intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs.
  • 90% of property crimes and muggings are drug related.
  • Alcoholism is associated with 25% of all hospital admissions.
  • An overwhelming majority of teenagers and their parents agreed that alcohol use is a greater problem than the use of other drugs.
  • Approximately 135,000 die each year as a consequence of alcohol and drugs, costing about $46 billion dollars each year.
  • Approximately 80% of all crime in the U.S. is related to drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Currently, an estimated 20 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • Every dollar spent on treatment leads to a $7.46 reduction in crime related expenses and lost productivity. When health care savings are added in, every $1 invested in treatment for addiction yields a total return of $12 saved.
  • Four out of ten teenagers reported having friends who use drugs. More than a quarter said someone has tried to sell them illegal drugs.
  • In 1997, an estimated 2 million people sought treatment for their drug and alcohol addictions at approximately 1,200 drug rehabilitation clinics in the United States and Europe.
  • In one study conducted at the National Addiction Center, 650 individuals with a heroin addiction committed more than 70,000 crimes in a three-month period.
  • It is estimated that in 1997, more than 30 million people in the United States and Europe suffered from chronic alcohol and drug addiction. Of the 30 million approximately 22 million individuals had an alcohol addiction, 6 million individuals had a cocaine addiction and almost 2 million individuals had a heroin addiction.
  • More than 55% of the parents interviewed acknowledged that they had smoked marijuana sometime in their lives, and one out of five admitted using other illegal drugs.
  • More than eight out of ten teenagers and their parents said illegal drugs are a major problem for teenagers nationally.
  • Most prison inmates have a drug addiction.
  • People who have been drinking are at greater risk of being the victim of violent crime, and are also more likely to be involved in accidents, fires and to engage in self-harm.
  • Six out of ten teenagers said at least some students at their schools use drugs. Among high school students, the number was eight out of ten.
  • The average individual with a drug addiction needs $200 per day to support his/her drug addiction. The average individual with a drug addiction has to steal around $1,000 worth of property and goods to raise the $200.
  • There were approximately 250,000 emergency room admissions for cocaine overdose in 1997.
  • Treatment is 15-17 times more effective than prison. For every crime that incarceration would eliminate, treatment would eliminate 15.
  • Treatment of all addicts would save more than $150 billion dollars in social costs over the next 15 years.

National Facts about Drug Addiction

  • In 2006, an estimated 20.4 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 8.3 percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically.
  • In 2006, there were 2.4 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, which was the same as in 2005 but greater than in 2002 when the number was 2.0 million. However, the rate of current cocaine use remained stable between 2002 and 2006.
  • Hallucinogens were used in the past month by 1.0 million persons aged 12 or older in 2006, including 528,000 who had used Ecstasy. These estimates are similar to the corresponding estimates for 2005.
  • There were 7.0 million persons aged 12 or older who used prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs non-medically in the past month. Of these, 5.2 million used pain relievers, an increase from 4.7 million in 2005.
  • In 2006, there were an estimated 731,000 current users of methamphetamine aged 12 or older.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, current illicit drug use rates remained stable from 2005 to 2006. However, youth rates declined significantly between 2002 and 2006 for illicit drugs in general and for several specific drugs, including marijuana, hallucinogens, LSD, Ecstasy, prescription-type drugs used non-medically, pain relievers, tranquilizers, and the use of illicit drugs other than marijuana.
  • The rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 declined from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006.
  • Among persons aged 12 or older who used pain relievers non-medically in the past 12 months, 55.7 percent reported that the source of the drug the most recent time they used was from a friend or relative for free.
  • In 2006, there were 10.2 million persons aged 12 or older who reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year.

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