Updated on November 23, 2023
8 min read

Drug Rehab Statistics & Success Rates

Drug addiction is pervasive and affects millions of people, families, and communities. And its toll on health, relationships, and quality of life is apparent.

Many people don't often think about the effectiveness of drug rehab programs. How significant are they long-term, and what makes them successful in sobering drug users?

This article dives into rehab statistics and their success rates, providing a deeper understanding of what truly works in treating substance abuse and addiction.

Drug Rehab Statistics

  1. 40% of those who sought treatment for drug use disorders in 2020 struggled with opioid addiction.2
  2. At least 7 million people with drug use disorders sought help between 2015 to 2019. That's 1 in 5 people struggling with addiction.2
  3. Over 600,000 sought treatment for drug use disorders in 2020, but less than 20% were female.2
  4. Fewer than four in ten (42%) of those attempting to end their drug and alcohol reliance successfully finish treatment.3
Substance of useAverage age of treated persons
Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)31
  1. The worldwide average age of those seeking treatment is 35, with the Americas and Africa recording the youngest average age at 30.2
  2. Those seeking drug treatment in Asia fall in the age range of 35 to 37, while their European counterparts are a bit older at 38.2
  3. In the Americas and Africa, people below 35 seek treatment the most. In contrast, they comprise only a small portion of those seeking treatment in Europe.2
  4. Surveys from 19 countries revealed a decrease of over 5% in drug treatment services from 2019-2020 or 2018-2020. Another report uncovered a 44% decline.2
  5. There was an 80% decrease in people seeking help in six European countries for substance abuse from January to April 2020 due to the pandemic. The same is true in Thailand, Bahamas, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.2 
  6. Only 8% of the 15 million Americans with alcohol use disorder receive treatment.7
  7. 65.7% of adolescents with substance abuse disorder (SUD) and major depressive episodes (MDE) received treatment via mental health services or specialty facilities.7
  8. 51.4% of adults with any mental illness (AMI) and SUD sought help from a mental health professional or treatment facility.7
  9. Close to 19 million aged 12+ needed substance abuse treatment in 2018.7
Age groupTotal of persons who needed treatmentTotal persons who received treatment
12 to 17946,000159,000
18 to 255,200,000547,000

Drug Rehab Success Rates

  1. Nearly 9 out of 10 people who remain sober from drugs and alcohol for two years maintain their sobriety for ten years.10
  2. The likelihood of rehab success increases when the treatment lasts at least three months.10
  3. An investigation into the recovery of users who underwent at least three months of treatment revealed that 40 to 50% of those with frequent heroin and cocaine consumption ceased use entirely one-year post-treatment. Moreover, 30% made substantial progress in reducing their consumption.11
  4. 80 to 85% of those who enter therapeutic communities drop out before completing their first year.11
  5. Approximately 60% of people participating in Outpatient Drug-Free (ODF) Programs finish, transfer, or opt out of their treatment by the end of the third month.11
  6. Methadone programs offer high odds of success and retention, with 2-year dropout rates ranging from 15 to 45%.11
  7. Those struggling with opiate addiction undergo six treatment episodes within a decade.11
  8. After completing their initial treatment, 60% of people seek additional care within the following six years.11
  9. Nearly 33% of those who complete drug treatment return within a year.11

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Relapse Statistics

  1. About 40 to 60% of people recovering from alcohol or drug use may return to using them.4 
  2. Young patients with substance use face a relapse rate of 33.1% within two years and 38% within five years.8
  3. Through comprehensive research on the habits of adolescent crack users, findings suggest that relapse rates soar to 65.9% within the first month and 86.4% within the third.8 
  4. People who use MDMA or methamphetamine have a 2.65 more relapse rate than those who use ketamine.8
  5. More than two out of three persons who start treatment for substance abuse disorders are likely to experience a relapse.9
  6. Over 85% of people who receive treatment for drug abuse end up relapsing within just one year.9
  7. Persons with drug dependencies have a success rate of less than 25% when abstaining from marijuana and cocaine upon discharge. The numbers aren’t better for alcohol and opiate dependencies, with less than 35% of patients remaining abstinent for a year.9
  8. The chances of experiencing a drug relapse within 90 days of completing treatment ranges from 65% to 70%.9
  9. One study reveals that 75% experience one or more relapses over 12 years.11

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Key Things That Can Help Support Your Recovery

Recovery involves hard work, dedication, and commitment. So, consider these tips to help you in your journey to a healthier life:

  • Develop healthy coping skills, such as meditation or mindfulness
  • Regularly attend therapy sessions
  • Have a solid support system from family and friends
  • Develop a personal recovery plan
  • Participate in therapy or counseling
  • Create a sober living environment and/or join a 12-step program
  • Stay active with physical exercise
  • Practice nutrition and healthy eating habits
  • Make positive lifestyle changes

Drug Use & Addiction Statistics


  1. Thirty-five million people worldwide are facing substance use disorders and need treatment services.1
  2. Of those 35 million, only 1 in 7 people receive treatment for their addiction.1
  3. More than 40% of those who misuse pharmaceutical drugs are women. Almost 50% of those using amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are also women, but only 1 in 5 women in ATS treatment.2 
  4. 40% of countries worldwide associate cannabis with the highest number of drug use disorders.2
  5. In 2020, there were approximately 209 million cannabis users, 61 million opioid users, 34 million amphetamine users, 21 million cocaine users, and 20 million ecstasy users.2
  6. Over 280 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 used some form of drugs in 2020. The majority of these users were men. That's 1 in every 18 people in this age group, which amounts to 5.6% of the population. This represents a 26% increase from 2010, when 226 million people used drugs, accounting for 5% of the population.2
  7. Out of the 284 million people who used drugs in 2020, approximately 13.6% suffered from drug use disorders. That's a prevalence of 0.76% of the global population aged 15 to 64.2
  8. Opioids were responsible for almost 70% of all drug-related fatalities in 2019.2
  9. In 2019, the impact of opioid addiction amounted to a loss of approximately 12.9 million years of "healthy" life lost due to disability and untimely death.2
  10. Almost 59% of the world's population of Persons Who Inject Drugs (PWID) live in three regions: North America, Eastern Europe, and East and South-East Asia.2
  11. PWID is responsible for 9% of new adult HIV infections globally.2
  12. The grip of HIV among PWID remains tight in Eastern Europe and South-West Asia, where a staggering 25% or more of PWID are living with the virus.2 
  13. A global collaboration between United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization, and the World Bank reports that 11.2 million people across the globe engaged in drug injection in 2020.2
  14. Recent statistics gathered from household surveys in over 60 countries reveal that women are less than a third of those who use cannabis or cocaine globally.2 
  15. The probability of men using most drugs is higher than that of women.2
  16. Young people are more prone to using any drug compared to their older counterparts.2
  17. The number of people struggling with drug use disorders worldwide skyrocketed to 38.6 million people in 2020 from 27 million in 2010.2
  18. Those who use cannabis for recreational purposes have an 8.9% chance of developing dependence.2
  19. 1.4 million who inject drugs are contending with HIV, 5.5 million others are battling hepatitis C, and 1.2 million live with both viruses.2
  20. About one-fourth of all new hepatitis C cases worldwide result from drug use via injection.2
  21. The world lost 494,000 lives due to drug-related causes in 2019.2
  22. Opioids are responsible for 64% of all reported drug-related deaths in 2020.2

United States

According to the U.S. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, eight classifications of drugs are prevalent in the United States. These include opioids (which generally consist of controlled psychotropic substances), heroin, alcohol, fentanyl, prescription stimulants, cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis.

  1. Opioids were a devastating factor in 75% of fatal overdoses across the country in 2020.2
  2. There's a 30% surge from 2019 to 2020 in drug-related deaths, resulting in 93,000 deaths which were mostly from opioids like fentanyl.2
  3. For every 1 million people aged 15 to 64, there were 216 deaths related to drug use in 2019.2
  4. In 2019, approximately 13% of persons aged 12+ reported using illegal drugs within the past month.5
  5. 1.9% of people aged 12+ admitted to the non-medical use of a psychotherapeutic drug in 2019.5
  6. Thirty-nine million Americans dabbled in cocaine, 28 million explored LSD, and 126 million tried marijuana.6
  7. There was a sharp increase in heroin users from 5.1 million in 2018 to 6.3 million in 2020.6 
  8. Over 500,000 Americans are struggling with heroin dependence or abuse.6
  9. The drugs of choice of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 are hallucinogens, marijuana, LSD, and inhalants.6
  10. 23% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 experimented with marijuana, and 1.4% tried cocaine in 2021.6
  11. Illicit drug use among teens drastically declined over the past 20 years. In 2021, only 27% of middle and high school students reported trying illegal drugs in their lifetime, a notable drop from 41% in 2001.6
  12. Access to certain drugs dwindled. Only 17% of seniors stated that cocaine is "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain in 2021, a sharp decrease from the 46% reported in 2001.6
  13. Overdoses claimed the lives of 91,800 Americans in 2020. Men represented almost 70% of these deaths; Delaware, Kentucky, and West Virginia recorded the highest death rates.6
  14. Nearly one-third (32%) of American adults who struggled with drug abuse also experienced familial troubles.6
  15. At least 40.9 million have experimented with cocaine at some point.6
  16. The rate of deaths from drug overdose has reached an alarming 32.4 per 100,000 people.6
  17. In 2020, the government allocated $35 billion to combat drug use and abuse nationwide.7
  18. 28.320 million (20.4%) Americans aged 12+ suffer from alcohol use disorder.7

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Updated on November 23, 2023
11 sources cited
Updated on November 23, 2023
  1. World Drug Report 2019: 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders while only 1 in 7 people receive treatment.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2019.
  2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “Booklet 2 - Global Overview of drug demand and drug supply.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2022.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministraWDR 2022_Booklet 2tion, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2019. Admissions to and Discharges From Publicly Funded Substance Use Treatment.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.National Institutes of Health, 2020.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “FastStats - Illicit Drug Use.U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2022.
  6. Elflein, J. “Drug use in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts.” Statista, 2022.
  7. Substance abuse and addiction statistics” National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 2023.
  8. You, Y.-H, et al. “Predictors of five-year relapse rates of youths with substance abuse who underwent a family-oriented therapy program - annals of general psychiatry.” BioMed Central, 2020.
  9. Sinha, R. “New Findings on Biological Factors Predicting Addiction Relapse Vulnerability.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011.
  10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.” Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, n.d.
  11. Princeton University. “Chapter 4 the effectiveness of Treatment for drug abuse.” n.d.

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