This disease has shattered an incalculable number of families and devastated neighborhoods everywhere. This devastation causes a relentless cycle of crime and academic failure. Taken together, all of this makes addiction the most significant public health crisis in the United States today.

Most Prevalent Diseases in the United States



  • In 2010, 85% of the U.S. prison population committed crimes while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; committed crimes to get money to buy drugs; or were incarcerated for an alcohol or drug law violation.
  • Almost 80% of youths in the juvenile justice system are there due to problems related to their substance abuse.
  • Alcohol and other drugs are involved in one-half to three quarters of all incidences of violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse, homicide and rape – and close to 100% of date rapes.


  • Individuals living below the poverty line are 132% more likely to be addicted to drugs than individuals with incomes exceeding two times the federal poverty threshold.
  • Approximately 60% of homeless people suffer from addiction.

Mental Illness

  • At least 60% of those with addiction have co-occurring mental illness, and 20% of the mentally ill suffer from addiction.
  • Individuals with a substance use disorder are almost six times more likely to attempt suicide.

Academic Failure

The association between substance use and academic failure is strong and well recognized among researchers. Longitudinal studies indicate substance use plays a significant role in increasing the risk for dropping out of high school.

In addition to the human toll, the rising costs of addiction exceed $400 billion annually (with some estimates vastly higher). In 2005, the most recent year for which the data were calculated, societal costs from alcohol and other drugs were $416 billion: $43.6 billion in health care, $73.8 billion in criminal justice and $299 billion in lost productivity.


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About Addiction

Science of Addiction

Our Children are the Victims