Addiction and substance abuse are hot topics, whether it’s in the news or on your favorite Netflix original, so it’s not too surprising to hear that drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. With the popularization of substance abuse in the media and the advancements in technology that has made many of these substances easy to obtain, it’s not surprising that addiction has increased dramatically as well. But exactly how common is it? It depends. Age, gender, environment, and the substance being abused are just a few of the factors that play a role in developing an addiction. 

How Age Factors Into Addiction

The average age that drug use begins widely varies based on the type of substance being used, and the younger the person, the higher the likelihood of illicit substance abuse. The time that you are most vulnerable to addiction is adolescence, but recently more and more of the elderly are getting addicted to prescription medication. 

Whether the addiction begins early or late in life, the age group with the highest rate of substance abuse is 18-25, with about 15% reporting some form of substance abuse. That being said, almost 37% of the senior citizen population uses more than 5 prescription medications. The highest rate of alcohol abuse is among widowers over the age of 75.

Gender and Substance Abuse

Men are more likely to use illicit substances than women. They have higher rates of substance abuse, overdose, and addiction, but women are just as likely to develop a substance use disorder. Studies have also shown that women may be more susceptible to cravings and relapse than men. 

The Role of Environment in Substance Use Disorder

According to a study published by the Archives of Psychiatry, familial environmental factors play a crucial role in influencing the use of cannabis, nicotine, and alcohol during adolescence. The use of drugs and alcohol is a learned behavior, and with the cultural emphasis on drinking as a sort of rite of passage, it creates an environment that breeds addiction. The home, work, school, and neighborhood you grow up in all have a strong potential to affect your inclination towards substance abuse and relapse. 

Substance Abuse Facts

  • 300 million people have an alcohol disorder worldwide.
  • In 2017, 2.3 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 started drinking.
  • 20 to 30% of people that take prescription opioids misuse them.
  • About 500,000 Americans over the age of 12 are regular heroin users. 
  • About 30-40 million Americans smoke cannabis every year, and 30% percent of regular smokers have marijuana use disorder.
  • 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes.
  • 5 Million Americans are regular cocaine users.
  • About 1,000,000 Americans are addicted to meth.
  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction.

Battling addiction in Havertown, PA or Newark, DE?

Relapse prevention is an important part of breaking the cycle of addiction. Here at American Treatment Network, we offer immediate access to care with specialized substance abuse treatment and the follow-up support needed to beat opioid and alcohol addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at our alcohol and opioid addiction treatment centers in Havertown, PA and Newark, DE. 


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