Alcohol & Drug Use
Did You Know? is a weekly feature from the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support to inform your prevention activities. We invite you to read, share, and take action!
View the Current Did You Know?
August 31, 2018
- In 2016, 48.5 million Americans used illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs [PDF-6.2MB].
- Around 66% of the more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
- States can use data on nonfatal overdoses and overdose deaths to inform their prevention activities, and healthcare providers can take CDC’s online training on safer prescribing practices.
March 9, 2018
- Opioid overdose visits to the emergency department increased by 30% from July 2016 to September 2017, according to the latest Vital Signs report.
- People who have had one overdose are more likely to have another, so being seen in an emergency department presents an opportunity to prevent repeat overdose and death.
- Detecting trends of this fast-moving epidemic and developing a coordinated response can help communities better prevent opioid overdoses and death.
July 7, 2017
- Opioid prescribing remains high overall in the United States but varies from county to county, suggesting that people receive different care depending on where they live, according to this month’s Vital Signs.
- Too many people get opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dose [PDF-4.7MB], which puts them at risk for addiction and overdose.
- Healthcare providers can use CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and related resources to ensure appropriate prescribing.
June 2, 2017
- Many of public health’s biggest successes rely heavily on law.
- Legal interventions play a vital role in addressing emerging public health threats, such as healthcare quality, emergency preparedness, and prescription drug overdoses.
- CDC’s Public Health Law Program can provide training, guidance and information on these topics and others.
June 24, 2016
- Sales of—and deaths from—prescription opioids have nearly quadrupled in the United States since 1999.
- At least 26 states require prescribers to check prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—electronic systems that track dispensing of controlled substances—before writing an opioid prescription.
- You can learn how states are using PDMPs, along with other strategies to improve public health, in CDC’s Prevention Status Reports.
July 10, 2015
- Heroin use has increased in the United States, even among groups that had lower use rates in the past, according to this month’s Vital Signs.
- People who are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to also be addicted to heroin.
- States play a key role in keeping at-risk people from starting heroin, and in expanding treatment and recovery for those already addicted.
January 9, 2015
- An average of 6 people die from alcohol poisoning in the US each day—and 76% of these are middle-aged adults.
- Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death.
- States and communities can prevent alcohol poisoning deaths by supporting proven programs and policies to reduce binge drinking.
July 3, 2014
- Healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
- Ten of the highest prescribing states for painkillers are in the South.
- States can take steps to address the overprescribing of painkillers. Learn about changes in Florida’s laws and enforcement actions, after which painkiller prescribing and overdoses dropped.
March 28, 2014
- Excessive alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of death and cost states a median of $2.9 billion in 2006, or about $1.91 per drink.
- Increasing alcohol taxes is an effective strategy for reducing excessive drinking; a 10% increase in the price of alcohol could reduce alcohol consumption by 7%.
- You can find your state’s rating for excise taxes on beer, distilled spirits, and wine in CDC’s Prevention Status Reports.
February 21, 2014
- Since the mid-1990s, alcohol-impaired driving has been involved in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes [PDF-3.3MB].
- Ignition interlocks, devices installed in a vehicle that prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath, reduce the rate of re-arrest [PDF-584KB] among convicted alcohol-impaired drivers by 67% while installed.
- As of August 1, 2013, 19 states had laws requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated, according to CDC’s 2013 Prevention Status Reports.
July 5, 2013
- More than five times as many women died from prescription painkiller overdoses in 2010 than in 1999.
- For every woman who dies of a prescription painkiller overdose, 30 go to the emergency department for painkiller misuse or abuse.
- States can help by identifying improper prescribing of painkillers using prescription drug monitoring programs and other systems.
January 11, 2013
- One in eight adult women and one in five high school girls in the United States binge drink. Women who binge drink do so about three times a month, averaging six drinks per binge.
- Drinking too much alcohol results in about 23,000 deaths among women and girls each year, and increases risks for cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy.
- The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends evidence-based strategies for preventing excessive alcohol use, including binge drinking.
December 7, 2012
October 5, 2012
- The percentage of teens in high school who reported they drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991.
- Still, one in ten high school teens drinks and drives—that was nearly one million teens in 2011.
- Effective interventions to reduce teen drinking and driving include enforcement of minimum legal drinking age laws, zero tolerance laws, and graduated driver licensing systems.
July 6, 2012
- Nearly 1 in 3 prescription painkiller overdose deaths in 2009 involved methadone even though the drug accounted for only 2% of painkiller prescriptions.
- The number of deaths in 2009 involving methadone was 6 times higher than a decade before.
- States can use prescription drug monitoring programs to identify patients who are using methadone or other prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes.
January 13, 2012
- One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month and, on average, the largest number of drinks per binge is 8.
- Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes 80,000 deaths each year and cost $223.5 billion in 2006. Most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics.
- The Community Guide recommends several community-based strategies for preventing binge drinking. Find out what your community can do.
November 4, 2011
- Nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses involving prescription painkillers.
- Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month.
- CDC supports state-based efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse, while ensuring patients have access to safe, effective treatment.
October 28, 2011
- Excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006, or about $1.90 per drink, mostly due to binge drinking.
- About 15% of U.S. adults report binge drinking; see how your state or community compares.
- There are many evidence-based interventions that communities can use to prevent excessive drinking.
October 7, 2011
August 26, 2011
- Four simple health behaviors can lead to a longer life.
- People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 63 percent less likely to die early, compared to people who did not practice any of the behaviors.
- Measuring health-related quality of life indicators can help health agencies determine the burden of preventable disease in their jurisdiction.
Did You Know? information and web links are current as of their publication date. They may become outdated over time.
- Page last reviewed: October 12, 2016
- Page last updated: March 9, 2018
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