Statistics on Opiate Addiction in the United States

Opiate abuse and addiction remains a dangerous and real epidemic in the United States. Taking health, social and financial tolls on opiate dependent individuals and society as a whole, opiate addiction can come in many forms, from heroin and morphine addiction to dependency upon prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Oxycodone. In fact, statistics show that opiates continue to be abused at alarming rates, leading many chemically dependent individuals to experience the harrowing effects that opiate addiction causes on the brain and the body.

Statistics on Opiate Addiction in the United States

Various national drug and health agencies have studied opiate addiction over the years, releasing their findings to the general public. Professional drug treatment centers in the addiction arena have used the following opiate addiction statistics to provide inpatient rehabilitation services to those who suffer from opiate addiction, aiming to give them freedom from a life dominated by opiate dependency. Here are just a few of the statistics that have been made public regarding opiate addiction in the United States.

  • Just under 10 percent of the US population abuses opiates at some point in their lifetime, including street opiates such as heroin and prescription opiates like Vicodin and Oxycontin.
  • In 1999 alone, the Drug Abuse Warning Network found that two opiates—heroin and morphine—were related to over half of accidental drug fatalities in the United States.
  • As of 1998, the average age of first-time heroin users was just over 21 years old.
  • On average, heroin users have a $150 to $200 per day drug addiction.
  • In 2007, nearly two and a half million Americans had abused prescription pain killers to get high.
  • Ten percent of high school seniors took Vicodin without a doctor’s prescription, according to a 2008 research study.
  • A 2006 drug survey showed that over half a million individuals have used heroin at least one time in the last year.
  • In the first five years of the new millennium, overdose deaths from methadone—a synthetic opiate—increased by 500 percent, cited for nearly 4,500 deaths nationwide, a number believed to be severely underreported due to the lack of specific data on many polydrug overdose deaths.
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