Taking a look at everyday Americans’ experiences with addiction

In 2018, a study was conducted to see how many Americans knew someone in the throes of addiction, or were themselves. Astonishingly, 40% of participants responded with a yes. Another 41% of them knew someone who had taken a painkiller without a prescription. Most of us are already aware of the opioid crisis and the lives it’s ruined and claimed, but taking a look at some of these statistics drives home the reality that affordable, compassionate, and effective addiction treatment is more important now than ever.


When we look at statistics like these, context is incredibly important. When you consider that these statistics are real people, facing the reality of their loved ones’ addiction, they become haunting reminders of the current state of addiction, and the lack of availability of quality treatment options.

For far too long, quality recovery has been out of reach for all but the wealthy. More and more insurance providers cover mental health issues, including addiction treatment. The Affordable Care Act has helped some, bringing insurance coverage to more Americans. We still have a long way to go.

The fact that 40% of participants have themselves, or known someone to be addicted is troubling enough, but consider the 41% figure. There’s only 1% standing between unprescribed painkiller consumption, and addiction. Granted, just 24% of respondents said they or someone they knew had been addicted to painkillers or heroin, but there’s no denying the havoc excessive prescriptions have caused.

Arguably, the most troubling statistic of all is that 13% of respondents knew someone who had passed away due to drug use. Worst still, only 2% more knew someone or had themselves been hospitalized due to drug use. The line between death and hospitalization with opiates is an incredibly thin one. That’s one reason it’s so important to be proactive in finding help for yourself or your loved ones.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were around the same number of opiate overdose deaths in 2018 as in 2017, possibly marking a turning point for a statistic that’s been on the rise for years. Only time will tell.

There are many resources available if you or a loved one need help fighting opiate addiction. Below are some we recommend:

If someone is in danger, call 911 right away.

If you’re not sure if someone is addicted, consider having them take a free drug addiction screening test.

If someone needs help finding treatment, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-4357, or use their tool to find treatment near you.

If you’re located in the San Diego area, our team has put together a list of local treatment centers we recommend.

Ready to take the next step, but not sure if your insurance covers it? Verify your insurance today.

And as always, the True North Recovery Services team is at your disposal, day or night. Call us today at (760) 517-6544.