Data Shows More Than 23 Million Adults Living in U.S. Once Had Drug or Alcohol Problems, But No Longer Do
Survey data released by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) show that 10 percent of all American adults, ages 18 and older, consider themselves to be in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse problems. These nationally representative findings indicate that there are 23.5 million American adults who are overcoming an involvement with drugs or alcohol that they once considered to be problematic.
According to the new survey funded by OASAS, 10 percent of adults surveyed said yes to the question, “Did you once have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but no longer do?” – one simple way of describing recovery from drug and alcohol abuse or addiction.
“The OASAS study is an important contribution to the public’s understanding of recovery, as it represents the actual voices of millions of Americans whose lives have improved because they are living free of alcohol and other drug problems,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “This new learning provides a big reason – more than 23 million reasons – for all those who are struggling with their own, or a loved one’s substance use disorder, to have hope and know that they are not alone. These findings serve as a reminder that addiction is a treatable disease and recovery can be a reality. We are just scratching the surface here and more research is needed in this area, but we are proud to collaborate with New York OASAS in this meaningful process.”
“This research marks a vitally important step for those who are struggling with addiction by offering clear evidence to support what many know experientially – that millions of Americans have found a path to recovery,” said New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “It is my hope that this new evidence will strengthen and inspire individuals and those that provide treatment and recovery services to help the broader community understand that treatment does work and recovery is possible.”
Other self-reported findings from the new data conclude that:
- More males say they are in recovery than females (12 percent vs. 7 percent).
- More adults ages 35-44 report being in recovery, compared to younger adults (18-34) and adults who are 55 years of age or older.
- The Midwest has a higher prevalence of adults (14 percent) who say they are in recovery compared to adults in the South (7 percent). In other regions of the country, the percentage of adults who say they are in recovery is 11 percent for the West and 9 percent for the Northeast.
The study also found no significant difference between parents and adults without children who say they are in recovery. This demonstrates that parents are as likely as non-parents to be in recovery.
“This new research also supports findings from a groundbreaking survey done for Faces and Voices of Recovery by Peter Hart Associates that provided the initial evidence that there was a large population in recovery in the United States,” said Tom Hedrick, Senior Program Officer and one of the founding members of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Those 2004 findings concluded that ‘38 percent of adults have a family member or close friend (or both) who is in recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs.”