May 7, 2019  |  Purdue University Global

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

In the middle of this crisis stands another national emergency—more substance abuse 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 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • According to this report from NPR, an “ongoing labor shortage among drug treatment staff” is hindering many communities’ efforts to provide more treatment beds.

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

Substance Abuse 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 University 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 abuse 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 Abuse 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 20171:

21 million: People 12 or older who needed substance use treatment. That’s about 1 in 13 people.

4 million: People 12 or older who received any substance use treatment at a specialty facility.

19%: People who needed substance abuse treatment who ACTUALLY received the care they needed.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50.2

Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from HIV, car crashes, or gun violence at their peaks.3

$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.4

Opioid Crisis5

  • More than 130 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids.
  • In 2017, more than 47,000 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 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 2016 to 2026, 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

Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 20178

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 96
Motor Vehicle Crash: 1 in 103

Filed in: Psychology Addictions 


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Purdue University Global

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