Table of Contents
One-Third of Americans Have (Or Know Someone That Has) Developed an Addiction Problem Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Findings

32% Of Americans Have (or Know Someone That Has) Developed a Drug or Alcohol Addiction Problem Due to the Pandemic

For reference, all data derives from an online survey administered on December 4th, 2020 to 1,000 adult Americans that were comfortable answering questions regarding drug and alcohol addiction.

When Help.org asked 1,000 adult Americans if they or someone close to them has developed an ongoing drug or alcohol addiction problem because of the coronavirus pandemic, here’s how they answered:

Nearly one-third of all respondents, 32%, indicated that either they or someone close to them has developed an addiction problem due to the coronavirus pandemic and all of its subsequent impacts.

Meanwhile, 65% of poll participants answered that they have yet to face this problem during the coronavirus pandemic, either directly or indirectly.

Yet…

Because within that 65%, 30% then answered “yes” to this follow-up question:

“Are you worried that you or someone close to you might still develop a drug or alcohol addiction problem as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?”

30% of respondents are still worried about either themselves or someone close to them developing an addiction problem, while 67% still answered “no” on the follow-up.

Circling back to the 32% of respondents that have been impacted by addiction as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we asked what they, or someone close to them, specifically became addicted to during this unprecedented time:

The majority of applicable respondents, 57%, pointed towards alcohol as the source of the addiction problems they, or someone close to them, have developed due to the pandemic.

For another 12%, the problem became prescription drugs like Xanax, while it was cocaine for 9%, and heroin for 7%. An additional 2% indicated the issue stemmed from over-the-counter medications like cough syrup.

For 64% of Impacted Respondents, the Pandemic-Induced Addiction Problem Was a Relapse

Amongst respondents that indicated they, or someone close to them, developed an addiction problem because of the coronavirus pandemic, here’s how many were relapsing on an old issue:

For a concerning number of folks, 64%, the drug or alcohol addiction problem developed during the pandemic was a relapse on a previously-fixed issue.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a tremendously trying time for all Americans. Between the sickness and death, the recession and unemployment, the stay-at-home orders and the social distancing guidelines, there have been countless reasons to become depressed and lethargic.

Now imagine going through all of this and being a former alcohol or drug addict that constantly walks the fine line between sobriety and addiction.

It’s easy to understand why so many former addicts that had previously fixed their issues fell back into addiction because of the nonstop depression stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

And when we asked respondents for what they believed was the biggest reason they or someone close to them became substance-addicted during the pandemic, the answers looked like this:

Both “the economy/losing a job” and “the boredom of stay-at-home orders/lack of a social life” were cited by 36% of poll participants, while another 23% pointed towards “the depressing state of the news and world,” and 5% did not provide a specific reason.

In Addition to Being the Reason For Addiction, 41% Also Cite the Coronavirus Pandemic as the Reason They Haven’t Sought Help

When we asked applicable respondents if they, or someone they know, have tried seeking help through rehab, a treatment program like Alcoholics Anonymous, or other medical help, 57% of respondents said they have, while 42% have not, and 1% opted not to say either way.

Amongst those actively seeking help (or know someone actively seeking help), 77% believe the rehab program is working for them, while just 13% do not, and 10% aren’t sure. Choosing the right rehab facility for a specific patient’s needs is crucial to success.

And amongst the 42% of people who have yet to find help through rehab (or know someone that has yet to find rehab help), quite a few cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason they have yet to do so:

Close to half from this cohort, 41%, pointed to fears of contracting the COVID-19 virus as the reason they, or someone close to them, have not sought help to treat their addiction problem that, ironically, came about because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s terrible that the coronavirus pandemic is not only starting many addiction problems, but also keeping people from getting the help they need. Drug rehabilitation centers, with assistance from other sectors, must get creative during the pandemic in an effort to help as many people as possible without letting the virus interfere.

One potential solution would be setting up as many telehealth services for drug rehab as possible so that patients can get the help they need without exposing themselves to the virus.

Interestingly, amongst respondents that have sought out addiction help or know someone that has sought out help, the vast majority indicated it was done through a telehealth or other virtual service:

82% of applicable poll participants got the addiction help they, or someone close to them, needed through a virtual or telehealth service.

Remember from just above that 77% of applicable respondents believed their treatment program was working, which mathematically means that many are finding success with the telehealth or virtual program.

This is encouraging news and provides hope to those and their loved ones who may need help with addiction but are being kept from getting it due to fears of contracting the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

II. All Survey Results

Survey results derive from an online survey administered on December 4th, 2020 to 1,000 adult Americans that were comfortable answering questions regarding drug and alcohol addiction.

1. Have you or someone close to you developed an ongoing drug or alcohol addiction problem as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?

  • Yes – 32%
  • No – 65%
  • I’d rather not say  – 2%

2. (If “No” to 1) Are you worried that you or someone close to you might still develop a drug or alcohol addiction problem as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?

  • Yes – 30%
  • No – 67%
  • Not sure/I’d rather not say – 3%

3. (If “Yes” to 1) What specific addiction problem have you or someone close to you developed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?

  • Cocaine – 9%
  • Heroin – 7%
  • Prescription drugs like Xanax or percocet – 12%
  • Alcohol – 57%
  • Over the counter medications like cough syrup – 2%
  • Other/None of the above – 12%

4. (If “Yes” to 1) Whether it was you or someone close to you that developed the drug or alcohol addiction problem as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, do you feel like your/his/her life is in danger?

  • Yes – 61%
  • No – 32%
  • Not sure/I’d rather not say – 7%

5. (If “Yes” to 1) Have you or the person that’s close to you that developed the addiction problem as a result of the coronavirus pandemic tried going to rehab, a treatment program like AA, or tried getting medical help?

  • Yes – 57%
  • No – 42%
  • I’d rather not say – 1%

6. (If “Yes” to 1 & “Yes” to 5) Do you think that rehab, treatment program, or medical help is working?

  • Yes – 77%
  • No – 13%
  • Not sure/Too early to tell – 10%

7. (If “Yes” to 1 & “Yes” to 5) Was that rehab, treatment program, or medical help done virtually or through telehealth services?

  • Yes – 82%
  • No – 18%

8. (If “Yes to 1 & “No” to 5) Is the reason you or someone close to you hasn’t sought rehab, a treatment program, or medical help related to wanting to limit your person-to-person exposure to reduce the chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus?

  • Yes – 41%
  • No – 58%
  • I’d rather not say – 1%

9. (If “Yes” to 1) Was this drug or alcohol addiction problem that you or someone close to you developed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic a relapse on a previous problem that had been fixed before the pandemic started?

  • Yes – 64%
  • No – 34%
  • I’d rather not say – 1%

10. (If “Yes” to 1) What specifically about the coronavirus pandemic do you think made you or someone close to you develop a drug or alcohol addiction problem?

  • The economy/losing a job – 36%
  • The boredom of stay-at-home-orders/lack of a social life – 36%
  • The depressing state of the news & world – 23%
  • Other/None of the above – 5%

III. Methodology

Survey results derive from an online survey administered on December 4th, 2020 to 1,000 adult Americans that were comfortable answering questions regarding drug and alcohol addiction. The survey was paid for by Help.org and administered by Pollfish, an online survey platform. The necessary poll participants were found by using a screener question, in addition to requiring respondents be at least 18 years old.