Approximately 16% of the U.S. population ages 12 and over has a substance problem. This includes:
Nicotine (approximately 9%)
Alcohol (approximately 7%)
Illegal drugs (approximately 2%)
Prescription drugs (approximately 1%)
Note: The percentage of the population with each type substance problem adds to more than 16% because some people have more than one type.
Over half of those with a substance problem also use or have problems with another substance.
Among people with a substance problem, nearly 1 in 5 have multiple substance disorders.
Nicotine: over 1/5 have another alcohol or drug problem
Alcohol: nearly 1/3 also have a nicotine or other drug problem
Illegal drugs: nearly 2/3 have another substance problem
Prescription drug: nearly 3/4 have another substance problem
Other compulsive behaviors, such as those related to gambling, food and sex, for example, may also be expressions of addiction.
Some research suggests that these types of “behavioral addictions” involve similar changes in the brain, common risk factors and behaviors. They also show common responses to certain types of treatment. These findings suggest the possibility that addiction may be one disease with different forms or expressions.