How Addiction Adds Up

Most of us know that addiction carries a high cost to the individual struggling to cope with their compulsion. Addicts are less likely to graduate from school, more likely to divorce, less likely to get promoted at work and more likely to develop related health problems.

But we rarely associate it with ourselves.  We like to believe it’s someone else’ problem.

Here are some facts to help quantify how prevalent compulsive behavior is and what it costs all of us.

  • More than 23 million Americans over the age of twelve are either dependent on mind-altering substances or regularly abuse them.  That’s one in ten Americans.
  • Government spends over $500 billion alone on morphine addiction when healthcare spending, incarceration, victim costs and criminal justice expenses, and lost employment is added up.
  • There are nearly one million drug-related deaths every year in the United States.
  • Compulsive eating and obesity costs society over $145 billion annually.
  • One in five adult Americans admits to using drugs illicitly.
  • One in five drinkers report drinking fiver or more drinks on at least one day in the past year.
  • 19 percent of under-21 drinkers identified themselves as binge drinkers.
  • Over two million Americans are pathological gamblers, on top of four to six million who exhibit compulsive or problem levels of gambling.
  • 10 percent of adults characterize their viewing of Internet pornography as addictive.
  • Two thirds of Americans meet the criteria for being overweight or obese, costing society over $145 billion annually.