Drug Addiction Statistics in the USA 2024 – Drug Abuse by the Numbers

In the United States, statistics declare that about 37 million individuals are current drug users and 19.4% have used illegal drugs at least once. There is a need to outline drug addiction statistics properly; perhaps it might assist stakeholders in the fight against this pandemic. Approximately 1 million individuals have estimated drug addiction-related deaths since 2000.

These numbers are of great concern, mostly because they have continued to rise and shown no signs of decline. This article aims to give a practical run-through of drug addiction statistics by detailing up-to-date information on various drug use and abuse in the United States.

Drug Addiction Statistics

Statistics On Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a harmful opioid use pattern that seriously impairs or distresses the user. Overdosing on prescription opioids or abusing illicit opioids like heroin has been known to be fatal, leading to death.

  • Statistics show that between 2020 and 2021, there was a more than a 16% rise in the number of drug overdose deaths. In 2021, opioids caused more than 75% of the roughly 107,000 drug overdose deaths, with synthetic opioids responsible for about 80% of them.
  • According to the CDC, there have been 3 waves of opioid overdose deaths.
  1. First Wave: The rise in prescription opioid overdose deaths started in 1990
  2. Second Wave: The rise in heroin overdose deaths started in 2010
  3. Third Wave: Rise in synthetic opioid overdose deaths which started in 2013
  • Almost 280,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2021. Prescription opioid overdose has claimed the lives of 45 persons every day in 2021.
  • In 2021, prescription opioids accounted for about 21% of all opioid overdose deaths.
  • A 10% increase in opioid prescription rates leads to an estimated 7% increase in opioid-related deaths.
  • 96.6% of opioid abusers use prescription painkillers.
  • Drug traffickers produce most of the illicit drugs that kill Americans outside the country, as Afghanistan is the source of over 75% of the world’s opium.
  • 51.3% of Americans in 2018 got their illegal painkillers from friends or family.

Statistics on Heroin Addiction and Abuse

Heroin is not one of the common prescription drugs that people abuse. It is an illegal opioid derived from morphine.

  • 120,000 people take heroin annually.
  • In 2018, 0.4% of the total illicit drug use was from heroin.
  • About 23% of people eventually get addicted to heroin.
  • An estimated 858,000 people, which is 3% of the population, used heroin.
  • Heroin death rate reduced by about 32% from 2020 to 2021.
  • Heroin-related deaths made up over 11% of opioid overdose deaths in 2021.
  • Heroin is usually used in combination with other opioids.

Statistics on Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

A highly addictive substance mostly used for its euphoric stimulation. It is also known as coke, crack, blow, or snow. Cocaine is illegal in the United States, however, it somehow is in abundant supply. Researchers recorded the crack epidemic in 1980 as the drug became popular for its affordability, immediate action, and profitability.

  • About 1.7% or 5.5 million of the American population uses cocaine.
  • The largest contributor to cocaine use statistics is the 18-25 age group.
  • Almost 20% of overdose-related deaths were cocaine-related. The health downsides to cocaine use are numerous and concerning.
  • Over 30% of cocaine users develop abscesses and wounds due to poor injecting habits.
  • About 20% develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, psychotic episodes, and suicide ideation.
  • Most studies associate cocaine addictions with deterioration in the quality of life as addicts sacrifice everything for that high. They ruin their businesses and that of their families, along with their relationships. They borrow huge loans and engage in criminal activities to afford cocaine at times.
  • Drug use caused a $4 trillion loss in 2022 due to societal damage and economic loss.
  • From 2012 to 2018 deaths from cocaine use increased by over 300%.
  • In the US, about 24, 500 people died from cocaine use in 2021.
  • About 78% of cocaine-related deaths also involved an opioid. Cocaine-related deaths associated with opioids increased faster than cocaine deaths alone.

How Many People Die Every Day in the United States?

Drug overdoses killed at least 136 Americans daily in 2021. According to drug addiction statistics in 2024, there are now an average of 280 Americans per day, with about 92% being preventable deaths. Various measures are being put in place to address these deaths, more so as the number of individuals with substance abuse disorder continues to increase. Most recent statistics 38, 679, 000 Americans struggling with substance use.

Statistics on Methamphetamine Addiction and Abuse

Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant used most commonly as a recreational drug or as part of the treatment for obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or narcolepsy. It is highly addictive and can be life-threatening.

  • Almost 1% of the age group 12 and above use meth, an average of 2.5 million individuals.
  • Meth abuse increased sharply in 2015.
  • More than half of meth users qualify for meth substance abuse.
  • Although there was a 37% increase in meth users from 2015-2019, overdose-associated deaths increased by 170%, from about 2.1 per 100, 000 people to about 5.6 per 100, 000.
  • In 2019 a 59% increase in illegal meth was recorded.
  • Criminal organizations in Mexico produce most of the illegal meth found in the US.
  • 30% of overdose deaths involve the use of psychostimulants like meth.

Statistics on Marijuana Addiction and Abuse

Classified as a hallucinogen, it was previously on the illegal drugs list but has now been legalized in certain states in the US.

  • 45% of Americans have used marijuana once in their lifetime.
  • Annual first-time users of marijuana are estimated at 3.1 million.
  • More than 13% of the American population uses marijuana frequently.
  • With marijuana legalization, sales have doubled, increasing from about $14 billion in 2019 to approximately $30 billion or more in 2023, and experts expect sales to increase even more.
  • 30% of marijuana users are addicted.
  • 43% of college students used marijuana in 2019.
  • 1183 deaths were recorded from marijuana in 2022.
  • The age group of 18-25 years recorded the highest use of marijuana.
  • Marijuana detected in suicide toxicology has increased from 7% to about 23%.
  • ER visits and hospitalizations increased by 54% and 101% in 2018.

Statistics on Hallucinogen Addiction and Abuse

Hallucinogens, a class of psychoactive drugs, include LSD and ecstasy. PCP, unlike others, can lead to violent behaviors. Research on the addictive natures of hallucinogens is still inconclusive, even though heavy users exhibit characteristics of addiction such as a compelling need to use the drug as well as tolerance. They rarely lead to death when used alone; however, users are completely out of touch with reality and exhibit potentially toxic behaviors.

  • About 5.5 million users annually
  • LSD use has increased to 4.4% in 2019 from 0.9% in 2002.
  • Among high school students 9% use hallucinogens separate from LSD at least once in their lifetime, and 2% use them monthly.
  • Use has decreased in adolescents aged 12-17 years.
  • 21.1 million once-in-a-lifetime users of ecstasy were reported in 2021, with 2.2 annual users.
  • People who use Ecstasy are linked with an early onset of sexual activity and engaging in high sexual-risk behaviors
  • Ecstasy and PCP use have decreased since 2015
  • Psilocybin being legalized in some states for medicinal use has increased misuse in age groups 18-25, as well as the perception of it being natural as it is derived from mushrooms.
  • Seizures associated with this substance have greatly increased in 2022.
  • 844 kilos were confiscated in 2022 representing an increase of 273% from 2017.

Statistics on Inhalant Addiction and Abuse

Inhalant abuse involves inhaling the vapors from materials like glue and gasoline on purpose to induce euphoria and alter one’s mental state. Adolescent inhalant abuse has led to chronic health issues and further drug use.

  • Over 22 million Americans, aged 12 years or older, have used inhalants, and every year, over 750,000 new users join their user base.
  • Approximately 1.8 million Americans aged 12 and above frequently use inhalants to get high yearly. The Adolescent population was 684,000 or about 38%.
  • 2.7% of total adolescents abuse inhalants.
  • More females abuse inhalants than males.
  • Inhalant use generally decreases with age.
  • Magic markers or felt-tip pens amount to the highest inhalant used in adolescents, about 6.7%. Other inhalants amounted to less than 2%.

Get Help for Drug Abuse Today

There are countless help centers to fight drug addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use, professionals are available to help. It is important to seek professional help, as this is the most effective and safest treatment method. Medical staff to monitor your vitals and health are part of the team, as are counselors and therapists who support you. Together with these professionals, you pick a program to help you get better. Do reach out to a clinics admission staff around you for assistance.


Drug overdose has become a public health problem; it is prevalent and affects a wide range of individuals. We must not gloss over substance abuse statistics as a topic. The numbers are worthy of serious attention. All stakeholders involved have more than enough data that proves the need for increased awareness to reduce substance addiction and to provide better access to care for treatment as well as overdose prevention. Irrespective of how much the negative effects have impacted different individuals, with proper therapy by professionals, there would be considerable improvement and help with addiction and withdrawals.