May 7, 2019  |  Purdue Global  |  Updated June 24, 2022

The news regarding substance use in the United States is grim.

In the middle of this crisis stands another national emergency—more substance use counselors are desperately needed.

  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “serious workforce shortages exist” and “developing the sector of the workforce trained to prevent and treat substance use disorders is one of SAMHSA’s highest priorities.”
  • Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is expected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the supply of addiction counselors will increase 3% between 2017 and 2030, but the demand will increase 15% in that same period.

This infographic touches on the depth and breadth of the substance use crisis in the United States and highlights the need for addiction counselors.

Substance Use Facts and Statistics Infographic

Make a Difference in the Substance Abuse Crisis

If you want to make a difference in the lives of those suffering from a substance use disorder, a degree from Purdue Global can open the door to numerous professional opportunities. We offer:

Please contact us today to request more information.

If you are a health care provider who needs to develop more employees to help fight substance use in your community, learn more about Purdue Global education partnerships. We can craft a custom solution for employee training that meets your growing needs.

Substance Use Facts and Statistics Infographic Content

Addiction is one of the top public health issues in the United States today. According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 20201:

40.3 million: People 12 or older who had a substance use disorder within the past year, including 28.3 million who had alcohol use disorder, 18.4 million who had an illicit drug use disorder, and 6.5 million people who used both.

41.1 million: People 12 or older who needed substance use treatment. That's nearly 1 in 7 people.

4 million: People who received any substance use treatment in the past year. That’s less than 10% of people who needed it.

97,516: The number of overdose deaths reported between May 2020 and May 2021.2

$78.5 billion: Annual economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S., including costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice.3

$1.45 trillion: Annual cost of economic loss and societal harm from drug and alcohol abuse.4

Opioid Crisis5

  • In 2019, nearly 50,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose.
  • 21–29%: Patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain and misuse them.
  • 8–12%: Patients who develop an opioid use disorder.
  • 4–6%: Patients who misuse prescription opioids and transition to heroin.
  • About 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.

Substance Abuse Counselors

Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.6

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States7

2010: 38,329

2011: 41,340

2012: 41,502

2013: 43,982

2014: 47,055

2015: 52,404

2016: 63,632

2017: 70,237

Drug overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 in April 2021.2

Lifetime Odds of Death for Selected Causes, United States, 20198

For the first time on record, your odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than dying in a motor-vehicle crash.

Cause of Death and Odds of Dying

Heart Disease: 1 in 6

Cancer: 1 in 7

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease: 1 in 27

Suicide: 1 in 88

Opioid Overdose: 1 in 92

Motor Vehicle Crash: 1 in 107

About the Author

Purdue Global

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*Job Growth: National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

*†Employment and Career Advancement: Purdue Global does not guarantee employment placement or career advancement. Additional certification or licensing may be required to work in certain fields.

*The professional practice of psychology is regulated by each state, and the degree requirements of Purdue Global psychology programs do not guarantee or prepare students for licensure in any state upon graduation. It is important to note that, while earning a master’s degree in psychology may qualify students to work in the helping professions, a doctorate degree is required to become a psychologist and a medical degree is required to become a psychiatrist.