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The Disease Does Not Discriminate

2020 Addiction Demographics

Addiction, be it to alcohol, opioids, or other illicit drugs, kills thousands of Americans each year, and the impact on the lives of their loved ones is staggering. Addiction is a mental disorder that results in the overwhelming compulsion to repeatedly use substances or engage in behaviors regardless of known harmful consequences. Addictions are responsible for the dissolution of marriages, the loss of friendships, unemployment, and a wide variety of adverse medical effects. 

A Look at Addiction in America

An Introduction to Addiction Statistics

Combined smoking, alcohol, and illicit drug use kill approximately 12 million people each year worldwide. This number exceeds the deaths from all forms of reported cancer. On a global scale, alcohol and drug use are responsible for more than 350,000 deaths annually. More than half of those who die from alcohol or drug overdoses are younger than the age of 50 and are likely to be male. 

In the United States, the statistics are equally as disturbing. At least 21 million Americans struggle with at least one addiction disorder, yet only 10% of those will ever receive addiction treatment. In the last decade, more than half a million Americans have died due to a drug overdose. Recent data shows that alcohol and drug addiction cost the United States economy approximately $740 billion each year. Also, more than 90% of people who have an addiction began to experiment with drugs or alcohol before the age of 18. In the United States, the demographic most likely to use addictive drugs are individuals between the ages of 18 and 25.  

Demographics of Drug Users & Abusers

Our clinicians average over 30 years of experience each ensuring the highest level of education being provided to our clients. We highly encourage family, or other positive social support to partake in as much of our program as possible.

Our priority is providing the most effective care to our clients. Even though our center is small we have a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, two Clinicians with Masters, and numerous Group Facilitators. Our staff numbers commonly outweigh our client numbers, and our clinical caseloads are some of the lowest in the industry. We believe a substance abuse treatment center should invest the most of its efforts into clinical care facilities and therapeutic services. At Principles Recovery, you won’t be lost in the crowd, your recovery is the focus of your treatment experience.

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2020 demographics of addiction

Age and Addiction

Which Age Group Uses Drugs the Most?

Addiction is a complex disease that changes the brain and makes quitting difficult at best. Unfortunately, each year the average age of first use continues to be younger and younger; in some cases, as young as age 12. 

Although the rate of use among 76 million adults ages 56-76 (the Baby Boomer generation) is rapidly rising, adolescents and young adults between ages 18 and 25 are the age group with the most significant use rates. Current statistics regarding substance abuse rates among adolescents and young adults are disconcerting.

  • In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 4% of the adolescent population in the United States suffered from a substance abuse disorder. This number equals 992,000 teens or one out of every twenty-five adolescents between ages 12 and 17.
  • Approximately 5.1 million young adults ages 18-25 struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2017. This equals nearly 15% of the population for this age group or about one out of every seven people.

Which Gender Uses Drugs the Most?

Regardless of drug type, men are more likely than women to use drugs. This statistic remains true across all demographics and substance types. However, despite being more less likely to use (or report use) than men, women are equally as prone to addiction as men when they do use substances.

  • In 2017, approximately 9.5% of men over the age of 12 had a substance use disorder.
  • During the same year, 5.2% of women of the same age group had a substance use disorder. 
Genders and Addiction
2020 addiction demographics

Addiction Does Not Discriminate

Which Race and Ethnicity Use Drugs the Most?

Addiction does not discriminate in any way. Research has shown addiction to be pervasive among all races and ethnicities. 

  • Reportedly, approximately 13% of American Indian and Alaska Native populations age 12 and older are addicted to substances. The highest rates of substance abuse and dependence were reported among this population. 
  • Approximately 7.7% of the Caucasian population and 7% of the African American population reported use within the previous thirty days. 
  • 6.6% of Hispanics and Latinos struggled with a substance abuse disorder within the same age group. 
  • 4.6% of native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders suffered from a substance abuse disorder.
  • Asian Americans had the lowest rate of 3.8%.

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Location-Based Addiction in America

Which Geographical Regions are Most Prone to Drug Abuse?

In 2018, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released an in-depth study focusing on substance abuse in the United States. This study showed that the rate of use from region to region depends on age. 

  • Among adolescents, age 12-17, substance abuse rates were among the highest in the western United States (8.6% in 2017).
  • Among the same age group, small metropolitan and urban populations had the highest rates of use in the past 30 days (8.3% and 8.2%, respectively). 
  • Among young adults ages 18-25, substance abuse rates were highest in the Northeastern United States (28% in 2017).
  • Among this age group, large metropolitan and urban centers showed the highest drug use rates over a 30-day period (25.7% and 23.2%).


Geographical Regions and Addiction
2020 addiction demographics

Which Religious Groups Use Drugs the Most?

Throughout history, several religions have used drugs as part of spiritual ceremonies, rituals, and traditions. For those who adhere to teachings of certain faiths, drugs are thought to bring important visions and help believers connect to the spiritual world or a higher power. On the other hand, other religious groups hold strict values or rules against drug and alcohol use as they feel substances can interfere with a person’s relationship with a higher power.

  • The Native American church chartered in 1918 has 80 chapters and approximately 250,000 members throughout the United States. The church emphasizes honesty, family faithfulness in marriage, economic independence, and prayer. Peyote is an integral part of certain ceremonies, but members are encouraged to abstain from alcohol use. 
  • Rastafarianism was founded in Jamaica in the 1930s. Members are encouraged to follow a strict vegetarian diet and avoid alcohol, but marijuana is used ritualistically to increase spiritual awareness. The religion has over 1 million members worldwide, one of the most famous being Bob Marley who spread awareness of the faith through his music in the 1970s. 
  • Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions and currently has more than 900 million followers. As a general rule, the religion disapproves of illegal drug use; however, cannabis and a plant-derived intoxicating beverage called soma have been used throughout history for worship and ceremonial practices.
  • Bwiti is a religion followed by the Babongo people on the West coast of Africa. Followers believe that all beings, including animals and plants, contain a spiritual essence. The hallucinogenic drug iboga is sometimes used in spiritual ceremonies.

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Alcoholism Demographics

Alcohol Substance Abuse Statistics

Alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the United States; however, alcoholism is often left untreated. The statistics related to alcohol abuse and alcohol-related death in the United States are staggering and difficult to fathom. 

  • Worldwide, alcohol is responsible for approximately 1 in every 20 deaths each year. This accounts for about 5.3% of all deaths. 
  • Globally approximately 300 million people have an alcohol use disorder. 
  • In the United States, roughly 88,000 people die annually due to alcohol use disorders and alcohol-related deaths.
  • Approximately 30 Americans die every day in an alcohol-related car accident and an additional six Americans each day from alcohol poisoning.
  • Men between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to binge drink and are also most likely to be diagnosed with alcoholism. 
  • In 2017, over 2 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 and another 2.4 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 began drinking alcohol. 
  • Heavy alcohol use and binge alcohol use are most common among Caucasians in the United States. 
  • Approximately 15 million or 6% of American adults have an alcohol use disorder, but only about 7% will ever receive treatment.
  • One of the leading causes of alcoholism and alcohol use disorders is a family history of problem drinking. Over half of American adults have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol-related disorders.
  • Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. 
  • Alcohol accounts for nearly 50% of liver disease diagnosis among people over the age of 12. 
  • Alcohol consumption and alcohol-related medical treatment account for nearly 40% of all hospital bed usage in the United States, with over 25% of the population over the age of 12 reporting binge alcohol use in the last 30 days. 


Reasons Why Addiction is Rampent

What is the Leading Cause of Addiction?

People turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to relax, reduce stress, or in some cases, reward themselves. Over time a dependency forms on drugs and alcohol. As addiction sets in, people believe that they cannot enjoy life or cope without their use. There are several different reasons why people turn to substances such as drugs and alcohol. Frequently, they become a coping mechanism for symptoms of mental illness, low self-esteem, a history of trauma and abuse, economic difficulties, stress or chronic pain, and other medical conditions.

It can be challenging to point to one specific leading cause of addition as the reasons each individual turns to drugs or alcohol can be vastly different. As noted above, underlying mental health conditions, inadequate coping mechanisms, and negative self-thinking can all lead to substance use disorders; however, family history plays one of the most influential roles in addiction.

About 50-60% of addiction can be attributed to genetic predisposition. Several studies have been conducted around how genetic factors such as biology can impact addiction. Genetics, biology, or environmental factors are all strongly linked to a predisposition to developing an addiction. Children of addicts are more than eight times more likely to develop an addiction. Also, if one starts with a genetic predisposition to addiction and repeatedly uses substances, they are more likely to develop an addiction.

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How Principles Can Help with
Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Far too many people in the United States who struggle with addiction do so alone. Fears and concerns about finances, insurance coverage, family, and stigma often prevent people from seeking the help they need to recover from their substance abuse disorder. There are well over 15,000 drug abuse rehab facilities in the United States alone, but Principles Recovery Center isn’t like other drug rehabs. Our compassionate team of treatment providers at Principles Recovery Center has been treating substance abuse disorders and addiction for over 30 years. Many of our staff have experienced the challenges and difficulties of addiction and recovery personally and, therefore, are equipped to understand better the struggles and fears associated with addiction and addiction treatment.

All addictions are not created equally, and therefore addiction treatment should not be either. The symptoms and impacts of substance abuse will vary from individual to individual, and for this reason, treatment programs must be based on the individual and not the addiction itself. Our substance abuse programs at Principles Recovery Center focus on multi-level, evidence-based treatment. We offer an addiction treatment program with various levels of intensity depending on your needs, including partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient services. At Principles Recovery Center, we believe it is essential for a family or other positive social support members to partake in as much of our treatment program as possible.

Our priority is providing the safest and most effective care to our clients to help them on their road to sobriety and long-term recovery. Our facility is small, and that’s OK because our staff numbers commonly outweigh our client numbers, and our caseloads are some of the lowest in the industry. This allows us to provide superior level care to each of our clients. Addiction can take control of your life and make it feel as though recovery is impossible. Get your life back with Principles Recovery Center. 

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