Addiction Facts & Information

Addiction Facts and Information

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Youth/Teen
  • Parents/Family

Alcohol abuse, which can lead to alcoholism, is a pattern of drinking that result in harm to one's health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol use by people under the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, and any alcohol use by pregnant women.

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person's self control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs.


Many products readily found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids—contain volatile substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. People do not typically think of these products as drugs because they were never intended for that purpose. However, these products are sometimes abused in that way. They are especially (but not exclusively) abused by young children and adolescents, and are the only class of substance abused more by younger than by older teens.

Party Drugs

Club or party drugs are substances often used by people partying in bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, and at concerts and raves. They are used by people of all ages in conjunction with sexual activity.


Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarettes cause more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths, or 1,300 deaths every day. An additional 8.6 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. Thus, for every 1 person who dies from smoking, 20 more suffer from at least 1 serious tobacco-related illness.

There is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people. Which is why young people and their families have lots of questions about alcohol and drugs, questions about how to avoid getting in trouble and questions about helping a friend or family members.

Older Adults

Substance abuse, particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country. Yet, even as the number of older adults suffering from these disorders climbs, the situation remains underestimated, under identified, under diagnosed, and under-treated.

Parents and Family

Alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family - young, teenage, or grown-up children; wives or husbands; brothers or sisters; parents or other relatives and friends. One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers. Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family's unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics.


Men are more likely than women to become addicts. But in other respects, women face tougher challenges. They tend to progress more quickly from using an addictive substance to dependence. They also develop medical or social consequences of addiction faster than men, often find it harder to quit using addictive substances, and are more susceptible to relapse.


Addiction permeates all aspects of an individual's life – it affects their health, their relationships, their emotional well-being and it can also impact their work. Approximately 77% of individuals struggling with addiction are employed. Employees suffering from an addiction function at about two thirds of their capacity and are 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident compared to employees without an addiction.