Addiction is a chronic and treatable neurological disorder

  • 25 million individuals, 10% of the adult U.S. population, have overcome their drug or alcohol problem.1,2
  • A key finding from the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health is that well-supported scientific evidence shows that treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) are cost-effective compared with no treatment.2
  • Withdrawal management is highly effective in preventing immediate and serious medical consequences associated with discontinuing substance use, but by itself it is not an effective treatment for any substance use disorder – it is the first step in the treatment path.2
  • Remission of substance use disorders involve lifestyle choices — just as any other chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease asthma and COPD.2
  • Every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 in health care costs and $7 criminal justice costs.2



  • Substance abuse costs the U.S. over $600 billion annually and treatment can help reduce these costs.³
  • Economic toll of the opioid crisis in the U.S. has exceeded $1 trillion since 2001 and projected to cost an additional $500 billion by 2020.4


  • Individuals
    • Lost wages
  • Private Sector
    • Lost productivity, health care costs
  • Federal, State and Local Governments
    • Lost tax revenue
    • Additional spending on health care, social services, education and criminal justice
    prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. 5
    1 in 10

    Only 1 in 10 receive treatment.2


    • The average age at which opioid deaths are occurring are individuals in their prime productivity years — between 25 and 54.5
    • More than 10 million full-time workers in our nation have a substance use disorder (SUD).6
    • An estimated 500 million workdays are lost annually due to addiction problems.7
    • 67% of HR professionals believe that addiction is one of the most serious issues they face in their company.8
    • The most significant problems companies experience due to addiction are — absenteeism (62%); reduced productivity (49%); missed deadlines (31%); and increased health care costs (29%).9
    • Employees with addiction problems function at about two-thirds of their capability.5
    • Studies have demonstrated that prevention and treatment programs for employees with substance use disorders are cost effective in improving worker productivity.2
    • SUD/addiction is a leading cause of disability.5


      • Health care costs related to the opioid crisis reached $215.7 billion from 2001 to 2017: 4
        • ED visits to treat and stabilize overdose patients
        • Ambulance and Naloxone
        • Indirect health care costs associated with other diseases or complications
      • 61% of individuals with substance abuse have no mental health comorbidity.3
      • Every hour in 2015 10 :
        • 76 people were treated in and released from an emergency department (ED) for opioid-related care.
        • 92 people were admitted to an inpatient hospital for opioid-related care.
      • Up to 40% of all med/surg hospital beds in the U.S. are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.11
      • Almost half of all ED visits for trauma and/or injury are alcohol related.12
      • The rate of alcohol-related visits to U.S. EDs increased by nearly 50% between 2006 and 2014, and the cost of providing care more than tripled. 13
        • ED visits increased 61.6%, from 3 million to 4.9 million
        • Total cost increased 272%, from $4.1 billion to $15.3 billion.
      • According to a recent survey of Emergency Physicians’ attitudes toward patients with SUD 54% of those surveyed “prefer not to work with patients with substance use who have pain.”14

        A disproportionately large share of this health care cost has been borne by Medicaid in recent years. Since Medicaid expansion in 2014, the number of overdoses connected to uninsured patients has fallen substantially, but the burden to states in additional health care costs has increased.4

        • 175 Americans die each day from drug overdoses; nearly 100 of those are opioid related deaths.15

        • Overdoses are the leading cause of death of Americans under 50.16

        HUMAN COST

        • The U.S. accounts for more than a 1/4 of drug overdose deaths worldwide, while contributing to only 4% of the world’s population.17
        • In 2016, drug overdose deaths were doubled that of all firearms fatalities.18
        • Accidental drug deaths became the third-leading cause of fatalities for the first time in more than a century.19
        • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. – 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse.11


        • Every 25 minutes, 1 baby is born suffering from opiate withdrawal.20
        • 11 out of 1,000 U.S. births are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). This number has tripled since 2008.20
        • It is unknown how they fare developmentally and academically. The CDC is currently studying the effects on development.
        • Newborns with NAS stayed in the hospital for an average of 16.9 days compared to 2.1 days for those without NAS.20
        • The hospital costs for newborns with NAS were $66,700 on average compared to $3,500 for those without NAS.20
        • After declining for several years, the number of children in foster care jumped 10% nationally since 2010, mainly due to parental substance use and abuse.21


        • 40 prescription opioid deaths daily in the U.S.15
        • For every fatal opioid overdose, there are approximately 30 nonfatal overdoses.22
        • Over 1,000 people are treated in ED’s daily for misusing prescription opioids.23
        • Opioid analgesics are now the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the U.S., with more than 289 million prescriptions written each year.24
        • Over two million Americans are estimated to be dependent on opioids, and an additional 95 million used prescription painkillers in the past year — more than used tobacco.25
        • The odds of becoming dependent on opioids like Vicodin and Percocet increased 37% among 18- to 25-year-olds between 2002 and 2014.<26/li>
        • Nearly 80% of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids first.27
        • Less than 10% of medical schools in America have a course in addiction. Same for pharmacy and nursing school.28
        1. Szalavitz M. 10% of the U.S. Population Has Overcome Drugs or Alcohol. March 7, 2012. Time Magazine. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Washington, DC: HHS, November 2016.
        2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness.
        3. Economic Toll of Opioid Crisis in U.S. Exceeded $1 Trillion Since 2001. Altarum. February 13, 2017.
        4. Hedegaard H, Warner M, Miniño AM. Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 1999–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 294. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.
        5. National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs), 2008 to 2010 (revised March 2012) and 2011 to 2012. NSDUH is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
        6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Drugs in the workplace: What an employer needs to know. Accessed Feb. 2009.
        7. Larson, S.L., Eyerman, J., Foster, M.S., and Gfroerer, J.C. (2007). Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs (DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4273, Analytic Series A-29). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies.
        8. Hazelden Foundation. National Survey of Human Resources Professionals, 2007.
        9. HCUP Fast Stats. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). December 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
        10. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Facts about alcohol.
        11. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets. Published May 2009.
        12. White AM, Set al. Trends in Alcohol-Related Emergency Department Visits in the United States: Results from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, 2006 to 2014. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Feb;42(2):352-359.
        13. Kathleen, M, et al. An Exploration of Emergency Physicians’ Attitudes toward Patients with Substance Use Disorder. J Add Med. Online in advance of print January 18, 2018.
        14. Average daily overdose deaths extrapolated from the nearly 64,000 drug overdose deaths and 40% of those deaths are opioid related. &
        15. Katz, J. Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever. June 2017.
        16. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
        17. National Center for Health Statistics – Vital Statistics Rapid Reports.
        18. ONeuman S. Opioid Crisis Blamed For Sharp Increase In Accidental Deaths In U.S. January 2018. NPR.
        19. Patrick et. Al., JAMA 2012External link, please review our disclaimer., Patrick et. Al., Journal of Perinatology 2015.
        20.  Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care. January 2018. Science Daily.
        21. Frazier W, et al. Medication-Assisted Treatment and Opioid Use Before and After Overdose in Pennsylvania Medicaid. JAMA. 2017 Aug 22;318(8):750-752.
        22. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Highlights of the 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) findings on drug-related emergency department visits. The DAWN Report. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2013. Available from URL:
        23. Volkow ND, McLellan AT. Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain–Misconceptions and Mitigation Strategies. N Engl J Med. 2016 Mar 31;374(13):1253-63.
        24. Katz J.Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever. New York Times. June 5, 2017.
        25. Preidt R. Risk of Opioid Addiction Up 37% Among Young Adults. WebMED. October 4, 2016.
        26. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). What is heroin?
        27. Stapleton C. Only 10 percent of medical schools have a course in addiction. Why?Addiction Matters.