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3 Most Common Addictions

Isolation is one of the biggest contributors to an addiction problem. Many addicts feel so alone, and that only makes them want to use even more. That’s why it helps to know exactly what the most common addictions are, and how many people are addicted.

According to the most recent survey on drug use and health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2020, here is a list of the 3 most common addictions and usage rates reported at that time. It will definitely disabuse you of the notion that you are alone if you’re addicted to some kind of substance.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most common addictive substances, likely because it is readily available and legal. Over 138 million people in the United States reported using alcohol monthly.

They’re not all addicts, of course, but a substantial portion is, and during the pandemic, people reported increasing the amount and frequency with which they drank. They also admitted to drinking more in private than they had previously done.

On average, people consumed 26.8 drinks in the past 30 days during the worst of the pandemic. They also admitted to extreme binge drinking during that stressful period of time.

2. Marijuana

According to that SAMHSA report, 32.8 million people reported using marijuana on a monthly basis. Given that some 90% of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, it’s not surprising that it is becoming more popular and accepted.

While it is a comparatively safe drug overall, as with any addiction, excessive use can cause problems in daily life. Addiction is a problem related to intrusive behaviors. While certain substances are highly addictive, any substance that is used to the point where it creates a problem in your life constitutes an addiction.

If you use marijuana to the extent that you get a ticket for driving while impaired or lose your job, for example, then it’s an addiction.

3. Prescription Painkillers

Of course, we have all heard more and more about the opioid crisis fueled by prescription painkillers, and that problem is a serious one. The SAMHSA report notes that some 2.5 Americans report monthly use.

Some 29% of those people report misusing these dangerous drugs. That might mean taking too many, crushing the pills for a faster effect, or taking them more frequently than the dosage calls for. However they do it, that kind of misuse is dangerous.


Among the other drugs high on the list of most common addictions are prescription sedatives (2.2 million monthly American users), cocaine (1.8 million), hallucinogens (1.8 million), methamphetamine (1.7 million), and prescription stimulants (1.5 million). If nothing else is clear, if you’re an addict, you’re far from alone. It’s a common problem in the United States and throughout the world. It affects every class and age group. Moreover, the pandemic exacerbated the problems related to addiction as many people turned to use alone while quarantined.

Our partner, Sober Sidekick, is a community of people fighting addiction. With over 150,000 members, you will find a friend to reach out to, an accountability partner to keep you on the straight and narrow, and a virtual AA meeting 24/7. There are even professional counselors who can help you when you need them.

Join the community today, and you’ll never have to feel alone again. We know what you’re going through, and we want to help. You are not alone!

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