COVID-19 Drug Use Statistics

Drug and alcohol use rose notably between 2019 and 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following statistics show an increase in use across a range of substances and demographic groups:

  • Alcohol sales rose 32% in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 2019. – Yale Medicine.
  • 13% of Americans reported using drugs or alcohol to cope with COVID-19 stress. – Centers for Disease Control
  • Overdoses due to drugs and alcohol rose 18% compared to 2019. – ODMAP
  • Overdose deaths due to opioids rose in 40 states. – American Medical Association
  • Physicians across all generations reported an uptick in alcohol use during the pandemic, with older generations particularly affected: 30% of Baby Boomers said they have more than 5 drinks per week, up from 21%. – Medscape Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2021
  • Use of marijuana for medical reasons increased by 91%. –  Journal of Addictive Diseases   
  • Cannabis sales nationwide rose 40% over 2019. – State of the Cannabis Industry Report
  • Drug tests results showed an increase in use of fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. – Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Washington, DC, published on JAMA Network
  • 12% of surveyed Americans reported an increase in alcohol consumption or substance use. – Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Binge drinking in the United States increased by 26%, according to a survey conducted by the Research Triangle Institute International. – Washington Post