Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic

Drug Addiction and Overdose Stats

Drug Addiction and Overdose Statistics


The Facts of the Epidemic

  • Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among people below the age of 50 years.

  • 64,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016.

  • 142 people die from an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs every day.

  • Since 2000, nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. have died due to a drug overdose.

  • In 2012, 259 million opioid painkillers were prescribed in the U.S.

  • An NIH study showed that nearly 10 percent of adults have suffered from an addiction disorder, and that 75 percent never seek treatment.

  • The cost of treating a patient diagnosed with addiction is more than 550 percent higher than treating non-addicts.

  • Professional charges for opioid abuse and dependence rose by more than 1000 percent from 2011 to 2015.  This is an increase of $650 million in four years.

  • 15 billion opioid tablets were dispensed per year in retail pharmacies in the US in 2013 and 2014, far more per capita than any other nation.

  • From 1991 to 2013, the prevalence of non-medical use of prescription opioids increased from 1.5% to 4.1% of the population, and addiction increased from .3% to .9% of the population.

  • 6% of new HIV cases are due to injectable drug use.

  • Good news/bad news:  spending on treatment for substance abuse disorders grew from $15.3B in 2004 to $44.9B in 2014.

  • Of the approximately 1.5M people are arrested annually for a drug-related offense, 85% are for individual drug possession.

  • According to Harvard Business Review, “Researchers estimate the cost of the U.S. Opioid epidemic may be as high as $80 billion a year, even excluding the economic cost of a lost life.

  • Opioids could account for about 20% of the decline in labor force participation from 1999 to 2015.  (Alan B. Kreuger), Princeton

  • Nearly one third of prime working age men who are not in the labor force are taking prescription pain medication on a daily basis. (Kreuger)