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Fast Drug Facts: Alarming Facts About Drug Abuse by Substance

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With so many drugs out there, it can be hard to keep track of them all.

Not only are stronger and more potent drugs of abuse constantly hitting the market, but there is also an extensive list of slang terms for drugs that are sold on the streets. If you do not use these drugs yourself, you may know little about them, but knowing some simple drug facts could help you recognize if someone you care about has a problem.

Important Facts About Drug Abuse You Should Know

To help you keep these different drugs of abuse straight and to keep you informed, our rehab treatment centers are sharing some important drug abuse facts and drug information.

Alcohol Facts

Of all the substances that are abuses, you are probably most familiar with alcohol. You have likely consumed it yourself before, but there may also be a lot you do not know about this diverse elixir. These alcohol abuse facts can give you a clearer picture of the dangers associated with these drinks.

  • Over 14 million adults in the United States are believed to have an alcohol use disorder.1
  • The age at onset for alcohol dependence peaks at 18 and 19 and rapidly declines after age 25.2
  • More than 10,000 people in the United States die every year from drunk driving accidents.3
  • Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States with around 88,000 people a year dying from alcohol-related causes.1

Benzodiazepine Facts

Benzodiazepines or benzos are a class of drugs that suppress the central nervous system and are used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. They include drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. Although they have valid medical purposes, they are often abused. These drug facts about benzodiazepines can keep you informed.

  • Up to 44% of long-term users of benzodiazepines will become dependent on these drugs.4
  • Long-term benzodiazepines users have an increased risk of developing dementia.5
  • Benzodiazepines were involved in 10,724 overdose deaths in the United States in 2018.6

Cocaine Facts

Cocaine can be extremely dangerous especially with long-term abuse. It is a stimulant that usually comes in the form of a white powder and is snorted. Although it is a popular illicit drug, these cocaine facts may not be as well known.

  • Over 14,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 in the United States involved cocaine.6
  • After the first hour of cocaine use, a person’s risk of heart attack increases nearly 24 times.7
  • Adults age 18 to 25 has the highest rates of cocaine abuse in the United States.8

Meth Facts

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Although it is used in rare cases to treat ADHD, meth is highly addictive. Learn more with these meth addiction facts.

  • Approximately 964,000 people over the age of 18 in the United States had a methamphetamine addiction in 2017.9
  • Regular meth use may lead to psychosis with some research suggesting that as many as 40% of meth users experience these symptoms.10
  • Methamphetamine addiction is one of the most harmful drugs when it comes to physical appearance. Approximately 96% of meth users have cavities and only 23% had all of their natural teeth.11

Opioid Facts

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. These opioid facts about their misuse and abuse in more recent years are alarming.

  • In 2018, almost 70% of drug overdose deaths in the United State involved an opioid.12
  • Approximately 1.7 million people in the United State had an opioid addiction related to prescription painkillers in 2018.13
  • About 21-29% of people who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain will misuse these drugs.13
  • An estimated 80% of heroin users first misused prescription opioids.13
  • Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and the number of overdose deaths from it as well as other synthetic opioids has increased by 219% from 2010 to 2015.14

Marijuana Facts

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in several states and it is one of the more popular illicit drugs, there is a lot people do not know about this leafy green. The real drug abuse facts on marijuana might surprise you.

  • Marijuana can be psychologically addictive with 1 in 10 people developing a marijuana addiction.15
  • Men are twice as likely to struggle with a marijuana addiction than women.16

These facts about illegal drugs and drugs of abuse are just the beginning. Drug abuse can come with a multitude of serious consequences and dangers that extend far beyond these drug abuse facts. If you believe someone you love is abusing one of these drugs, get them help.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our various Banyan Treatment Centers locations and programs.


  1. NIH - Alcohol Facts and Statistics
  2. NCBI - A new definition of early age at onset in alcohol dependence
  3. NHTSA - Drunk Driving
  4. PubMed - The Benzodiazepine Dependence Questionnaire (BDEPQ): Validity and Reliability in Mexican Psychiatric Patients
  5. NCBI - Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
  6. NIH - Overdose Death Rates
  7. Science Direct - Cocaine Triggers Heart Attacks Within One Hour
  8. NIH - What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?
  9. NIH - What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?
  10. NCBI - Methamphetamine Psychosis: Epidemiology and Management
  11. NIDA for Teens - Meth Mouth: Some Ugly Numbers
  12. CDC - Opioid Overdose
  13. NIH - Opioid Overdose Crisis
  14. CDC - Prescription Behavior Surveillance System (PBSS)
  15. CDC - Is it possible for someone to become addicted to marijuana?
  16. NIH - Marijuana use disorder is common and often untreated
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Fast Drug Facts: Alarming Facts About Drug Abuse by Substance
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