WASHINGTON – More than 48 million Americans, or more than 1 in 6 people, struggle with substance use disorder. However, only 25% of them receive treatment, according to new data from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The survey also highlights a surge of 2.5 million additional people battling addiction from 2021 to 2022.
“This is not a red state or a blue state issue: as the data shows, there are tens of millions of Americans in every state across the country affected by this public health crisis,” said White House Drug Policy Director Dr. Rahul Gupta.
In light of the new data, President Biden is urging Congress to approve additional funding to fight the nation’s drug epidemic. The White House is asking for $1.55 billion to strengthen addiction treatment, overdose prevention measures, and recovery support services, along with more than $1.2 billion to crack down on drug trafficking.
“The overdose epidemic is heartbreaking, but it’s also preventable,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Right now, the President’s emergency supplemental budget request is before Congress with a request for additional, critical funds to take on the overdose crisis. I went before the Senate Appropriations Committee last week and made clear these funds are needed urgently. Now Congress must do its part.”
The new data not only sheds light on the scale of Americans struggling with substance use disorder but also reveals that nearly a quarter of people aged 12 and older in the U.S. used illicit drugs in the past year. Marijuana, particularly through vaping, remains the most prevalent illicit drug among teens.
The number of young people experiencing suicidal thoughts also increased from 2021. Almost 20% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a major depressive episode within the past year, 1 in 8 had serious thoughts of suicide, and 1 in 15 made suicide plans. Almost 1 in 25 had attempted suicide.
Among adults over age 18, almost 1 in 4 reported having a mental issue in the past year, and 1 in 20 said they had serious thoughts of suicide.
However, amidst concerning trends, there is a glimmer of positive change. The research indicates a decrease in alcohol use among adolescents and a decline in tobacco use across most age groups.