As we know, addiction is a disease, and some people may be more susceptible to certain diseases than other people. When it comes to a disease of the mind, like addiction, social factors are the biggest differentiator between those who are likely to develop one versus those who are not.
We know that people who have a family history of addiction may be more likely to develop an addiction due to their childhood environment influencing their opinions and behaviors. We also know that people who have certain personality traits like impulsivity, or other mental health issues like depression or eating disorders have a higher risk as well.
However, these aren’t the only factors that dictate a person’s vulnerability to addiction. Things like age, physical location, employment status, and even gender also play a role.
Using the results from recent National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, we’ll take a look at all the demographics and which ones seem to be at a higher risk for abusing illicit drugs.
Who is Most Susceptible to Illicit Drug Abuse?
In the 2018 NSDUH survey, 53.2 million people admitted to having used illicit drugs within the past month. The three most common drugs reportedly used were marijuana (43.5 million), prescription pain relievers (9.9 million), and prescription tranquilizers or sedatives (6.4 million).
Age: 18-25 year olds
Race: Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans.
Gender: Men in general have higher rates of drug abuse, but women are just as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder.
Religion: People who do not actively practice religion.
Location: Across all age demographics, Washington DC was the region with the highest rate of drug abuse.
Employment status: Those who are unemployed are the most vulnerable, however careers in the healthcare, law, and entertainment industries have some of the highest rates of drug abuse across all jobs.
Remember, even if you fall into one or more of the categories listed above, it doesn’t mean you will necessarily end up with a substance addiction. If you worry that you may be in danger of developing a substance use disorder, consider looking into treatment options.
Regardless of your age, race, gender, or any other factor, your best option for overcoming an addiction is to get treatment. A wide variety of different treatment options exist for people depending on the severity of their addiction and even their budget. Lifelong recovery is possible for everyone suffering from addiction.