A recent report published by reveals a multitude of eye-opening statistics about drug addiction. Below, we examine 10 of these alarming statistics and provide links to resources that can help families learn how to navigate addiction and mental health challenges and learn to thrive together.

For a comprehensive guide, check out the book Addiction in the Family: Helping Families Navigate Challenges, Emotions, and Recovery. Click here to buy it on Amazon. To read the complete report from, click here.

1. A Significant Estimation Suggests That 60% to 70% of People Who Engage in Physical Fights in Their Marriages are Alcoholics.    

Alcohol addiction is not just an individual issue. It affects the lives of people around you, especially married couples, regardless of whether they have kids. Becoming addicted to alcohol usually causes injurious consequences in families. It can cause financial drainage, spousal abuse, negligence of children, continual fights, and, most often, death. Moreover, this problem can extend to kids and loved ones. It nurtures codependency or enables behaviors to maintain peace despite the obvious harm instigated. Currently, many families are trying to address these challenges, especially through family therapy and rehabilitation. This is pivotal for family recovery and restoring peace and hope in families.

Dr. Stanger discusses the implications of addiction in marriage and families in her blog post, “Navigating Addiction, Divorce, and Family Healing: Finding the Way Forward.” Due to the secretive nature of addiction, drug or alcohol abuse can take a huge emotional toll on a marriage. As the substance abuse worsens, resentment, conflict, emotional detachment, and sometimes even physical abuse can manifest.

2. Among American Students in Grades 9 to 12, 32.8% Reported Consuming Alcohol Within 30 days.

Shockingly, 7.8% of 61.4% of US students who drive acknowledged drinking while operating a vehicle, as per a Johns Hopkins study. Many studies, particularly the IAMSBIRT Project, hypothesized that the teenage brain is highly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and drugs. According to the reports, screening for possible substances assists in categorizing suitable treatment for those endangered students. Brief interference strategies target motivating the person to reduce alcohol and substance abuse. Session durations differ depending on the person’s needs and the severity of substance abuse revealed during the initial screening. With these interventions, you can offer early support to lessen the danger of alcohol abuse for your loved ones. Moreover, seeking help and retrieval methods at an early stage is essential. 

For more information on understanding adolescent addiction and how interventions can help, read Dr. Stanger’s blog, “Interventions for Adolescents: Helping Teens Break Free from Addiction.” Contact Dr. Stanger today if you know an adolescent who may need an intervention.

3. In 2020, Approximately 16,416 Individuals Died Because of the Wrong Prescription of Opioids and Overdoses.

It’s essential to note that not all these fatalities were deliberate. Their report showed that some happened accidentally. For instance, some people forgot the correct dosage of their painkillers, while others had unbearable pain, which led them to increase their dosage. Americans are sad and scared because of this particular problem. Even though the statistics don’t consist of a specific age group, the figures shown are huge and hard to take in. Notably, this statistic precisely picks out people with opioid prescriptions. It doesn’t include people purchasing them through illegal routes. We can always know the actual count, as it remains indefinable, especially since the reported figures don’t show the complete picture.

Dr. Stanger emphasizes the importance of discussing prescriptions, especially opioids and benzodiazepines, with your doctor before deciding if they’re suitable for you. Knowing what dosage you’re supposed to take and how often is crucial, and Dr. Stanger discusses this topic at great length in her blog post, “In Pain? Talk to Your Doctor & Dentist Before Opioids Are Prescribed”.

4. Prescription Drugs Rose During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Americans prescribed and abused not just opioids but also benzodiazepines, sedatives, and stimulants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, in 2020, opioid drug abuse incurred an annual cost of approximately $78.5 billion for United States taxpayers. To cure people with opioid addiction, you will need naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. The medications help improve their excretory symptoms and restrain drug cravings.

In her blog, “What’s A Country To Do? Addressing Overdoses, Mental Health and Increased Alcohol and Drug Use in COVID-19,” Dr. Stanger explores how the disruption of daily life due to Covid-19, the loss of social connection, and the rise in online media, as well as the rise in online purchasing of mind-altering substances and ease of home deliver, has exacerbated the situation.

5. Over 20% of Americans Coping With Anxiety Disorders Also Struggle With Substance Addiction.

There appears to be a correlation between anxiety or depression and an inclination toward substance abuse. Many individuals dealing with anxiety or depression tend to resort to drugs or alcohol, increasing their risk of developing an addiction. The intricate relationship between addiction and anxiety or depressive disorders often creates a cycle where one condition exacerbates the other. For example, individuals with social anxiety disorder commonly grapple with alcoholism.

Anxiety is a common topic that Dr. Stanger discusses in her blogs. Articles like “Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse, and Gut Health,” “Crisis on Campuses – Alcohol Overdose – Suicide – Depression and Anxiety,” and “What’s Behind Your Mask – Mental Health – Anxiety – Depression – Addiction?” all discuss the ramifications that anxiety can have on substance abuse.  If you’re struggling with anxiety and are looking for better ways to cope than turning to alcohol or drugs, check out, “14 Proven Methods To Keep Anxiety From Turning Into Addiction,” or “Bits and Pieces – Patience, Anxiety, and Gratitude” to learn about coping mechanisms for anxiety.

6. Cocaine Ranks as the Second-most-used Illicit Drug in the United States.

A study conducted in 2014 revealed that approximately 1.5 million Americans openly admitted to using cocaine, constituting roughly 0.6% of the nation’s entire population. While this data dates back a few years, the pervasive drug trafficking issues in the country might have led to an escalation in these numbers, although one would hope for a decline. As of 2020, marijuana stood as the most prevalent illicit drug in the US, with a staggering 49.6 million users. Following closely, cocaine ranked second with an estimated 5.2 million users, trailed by LSD users at around 2.637 million and Ecstasy users at 2.622 million.

Dr. Stanger discusses cocaine as well as common co-occurring addictions in her blog, “Cocaine and Ketamine — A Lethal Cocktail Known As CK.” Cocaine addiction is also a big contributor to sleep disorders, which is covered in her blog post, “Sleep and Substance Abuse – 10 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep.”

7. Approximately 774,000 Americans Have a Regular Methamphetamine Habit.

Methamphetamine, often known as Meth, is an illicit substance notorious for its propensity to cause drug addiction, abuse, and fatal overdoses. Sold in the form of white crystalline rocks intended for smoking, Meth poses severe risks to one’s health due to its highly addictive and hazardous nature.

Meth is not just a drug used by people on the streets or lower-class citizens anymore. As Dr. Stanger explains in her blog, “The Changing Face of Meth,” methamphetamine has become a multibillion-dollar drug that, like cocaine, has made its way from rural and poor segments of the country to become the drug of choice for white-collar folks.

8. Regarding Adults Over 65, Data From 2017 Indicated That 1 Million Individuals Dealt With Some Form of Substance Use Disorder.

Within this group, around 978,000 people aged 65 and older were contending with alcohol abuse disorders, while another 93,000 faced challenges related to illicit drug use. Notably, two-thirds of senior citizens aged 65 and older who battled alcohol-related disorders developed these issues before reaching 65. Furthermore, between 21% and 66% of elderly individuals struggling with any substance abuse issue also experienced some form of mental disorder.

Seniors and addiction is a frequent topic covered by Dr. Stanger, so much so that she has written a free e-book about it (Silver Tsunami- How to Help Seniors Navigate the Road to Recovery) which you can download here. In her blog, “Sex, Drugs, & Senior Behavioral Health Challenges,” Dr. Stanger discusses the challenges that elders may face and how many of them turn to substances to cope.

9. Approximately 2.55 Million Middle and High School Students Using Tobacco Products.

Encouragingly, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among young Americans has been decreasing. However, over 2 million middle and high school students have adopted e-cigarettes, a concerning trend as they pose risks, especially those containing nicotine, which can harm their developing brains. Several states in the US have increased investments in comprehensive tobacco control programs aimed at deterring youth smoking. These states have witnessed more rapid and substantial declines in youth and adult cigarette smoking.

Vaping has become more and more prevalent, especially for the younger generation. This topic is discussed in several of Dr. Stanger’s blogs, including “Hopping on the Vape Train – What Are Teens and Parents to do?,“ “Teen Vaping: From Flavored to Marijuana, An Alarming Epidemic Grows,” and “An Open Letter to Juul (and Dr. Mark Rubenstein).”

10. Merely 10% of Individuals Dealing With Substance Abuse Disorders Seek Treatment.

Shockingly, only a small fraction, approximately 10%, of those grappling with substance abuse actively seek or receive the necessary assistance. Factors such as unawareness about the need for treatment, refusal to seek help, or inadequate resources and support can contribute to this low figure. Considering the 23 million Americans affected by drug addiction, this percentage is notably small.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Dr. Stanger strongly encourages you to be one of the 10% who seeks treatment. In the blog “The Importance of Evaluation in Treatment Planning and Placement,” Dr. Stanger and Dr. James Flowers discuss the importance of a robust assessment before recommending a specific treatment plan and center. 

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