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Facts and Resources

Fast Facts

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▶ Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of premature mortality in the United States. On average 87,800 people die from alcohol-related causes annually in the United States [1]

▶ 3.3 million people die from alcohol in a year worldwide [2]

▶ 2 million Americans in 2015 had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers [3]

▶ About 591,000 people in the USA had a heroin use disorder in 2015 [3]

▶ 230 million people worldwide (1 in 20 adults) are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2010 [2]

▶ From 2002 to 2015 there was a 4.3-fold increase in the total number of deaths from benzodiazepines [4]

▶ Only about 20% of adults with alcohol abuse or dependence have ever received treatment [5]

▶ It is estimated that 80% of patients with benzodiazepine disorder use other drugs [6]

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[2] World health Organization

[3] The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

[4] National Center for Health Statistics, CDC

[5] National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol & Related Conditions (NESARC)

[6] Gold MS, Miller NS, Stennie K, Populla-Vardi C. Epidemiology of benzodiazepine use and dependence. Psychiatr Annals 1995;25:146-8

Helpful Resources


24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)


Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Trained specialists helping parents whose children are abusing drugs or alcohol.

Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm ET, 

1-855-DRUGFREE (378-4373)


Veteran's Crisis Line

Connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential, toll-free 24/7, 365 days a year hotline, online chat, or text.

1-800-273-8255   ::  TTY: 1-800-799-4889


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


National Institute on Drug Abuse


Alcoholic Anonymous

Helping friends and family who are addicted to drugs.





Definition of Addiction by American Society of Addiction Medicine

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.


Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.



  1. Use in larger amounts/longer periods than intended

  2. Unsuccessful efforts to cut down

  3. Excessive time spent taking drug

  4. Failure to fulfill major obligations

  5. Continued use despite knowledge of problems

  6. Important activities given up

  7. Recurrent use in physically hazardous situations

  8. Continued use despite social or interpersonal problems

  9. Tolerance as defined by either a need for markedly increased amounts to achieve intoxication or desired effect or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount.

  10. Withdrawal manifesting as either characteristic syndrome or the substance is used to avoid withdrawal

  11. Craving or a strong desire to use


The Severity of each Substance Use Disorder is based on:

  • 0 to 1 criteria: No diagnosis

  • 2 to 3 criteria: Mild

  • 4 to 5 criteria: Moderate

  • 6 or more criteria: Severe

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