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Alcohol Use Statistics

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Learn more about the scope of the issue and alcohol's impact on specific populations with the following statistics.

General Statistics On Drinking

  • In 2015, 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.1 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.0 percent reported that they drank in the past month. 1

Binge Drinking Statistics

  • In 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

  • In 2015, 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older 3 (6.2 percent of this age group 4) had AUD. This includes 9.8 million men 3 (8.4 percent of men in this age group 4) and 5.3 million women 3 (4.2 percent of women in this age group 4).
  • In 2015, 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 6 (2.5 percent of this age group 7) had AUD. This number includes 298,000 males 6 (2.3 percent of males in this age group 7) and 325,000 females 6 (2.7 percent of females in this age group 7).
  • In 2015, 37,000 adolescents (22,000 males and 15,000 females) received treatment for an alcohol problem in a specialized facility in 2015. 8

College Drinking Statistics

  • 58.0 percent of full-time college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month compared with 48.2 percent of other persons of the same age. 22
  • 37.9 percent of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6 percent of other persons of the same age. 22
  • 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. 24
  • 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes. 23
  • Roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD. 25

Substance Use Statistics

  • Overdoses from heroin and other opioids are responsible for more than 27,000 deaths every year (CDC).
  • In 1999, there were more than twice as many motor vehicle deaths as fatal drug overdoses. By 2014, those numbers had flipped, with almost 40 percent more deaths from overdoses than car crashes (CDC).
  • Opioid deaths have increased 369 percent since 1999 (CDC).
  • 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids in 2012.
  • Every racial demographic has seen more overdoses since 1999 (CDC).
  • In 2014, approximately 1.9 million Americans met the criteria for prescription painkiller use disorder and 1.4 million people used prescription painkillers non-medically for the first time.
  • From 2004 to 2011 there was a 183 percent increase in medical emergencies from opioid abuse.
  • Opioid misuse is estimated to cost $72 billion in medical expenses each year.
  • Heroin use rose by 75 percent between 2007 and 2011. Those that are dependent on opiates are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.

References

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 2.41B—Alcohol Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab2-41b. Accessed 1/18/17.

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 2.46B—Alcohol Use, Binge Alcohol Use, and Heavy Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab2-46b. Accessed 1/18/17.

3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.6A—Substance Use Disorder in Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Numbers in Thousands, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-6a. Accessed 1/18/17.

4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.6B—Substance Use Disorder in Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-6b. Accessed 1/18/17.

5 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.56A—Need for and Receipt of Treatment at a Specialty Facility for an Alcohol Problem in the Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Numbers in Thousands and Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-56a. Accessed 1/18/17.

6 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.5A—Substance Use Disorder in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 to 17, by Demographic Characteristics: Numbers in Thousands, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-5a. Accessed 1/18/17.

7 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.5B—Substance Use Disorder in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 to 17, by Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-5b. Accessed 1/18/17.

8 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 5.36A—Received Substance Use Treatment at a Specialty Facility in the Past Year among Persons Aged 12 to 17, by Demographic Characteristics: Numbers in Thousands, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-36a. Accessed 1/18/17.

18 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 2.19B—Alcohol Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month, by Detailed Age Category: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab2-19b. Accessed 1/18/17.

22 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 6.84B—Tobacco Product and Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 18 to 22, by College Enrollment Status: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab6-84b. Accessed 1/18/17.

23 Hingson, R.W.; Zha, W.; and Weitzman, E.R. Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24, 1998–2005. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Suppl. 16):12–20, 2009. PMID: 19538908

24 Hingson, R.; Heeren, T.; Winter, M.; et al. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health 26:259–279, 2005. PMID: 15760289


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