HUMAN MISBEHAVIOR IS THE ROOT OF MOST ILLNESS
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FACTS
By 2020, behavioral health disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability
Nearly 5,000 deaths are attributable to underage drinking each year.(3)
Each year, tobacco use results in more deaths (443,000/year) than AIDS, unintentional injuries, suicide,
homicide, and alcohol and drug abuse combined; almost half of these deaths occur among people with
mental and substance use disorders.(4)
In 2008, an estimated 2.9 million persons aged 12 or older used an illicit drug for the first time within
the past 12 months; an average of 8,000 initiates per day.(5)
Half of all lifetime cases of mental and substance use disorders begin by age 14 and three-fourths by
Adults who began drinking alcohol before age 21 were more likely to be later classified with alcohol
dependence or abuse than those who had their first drink at or after age 21.(7)
Over 33,300 Americans die every year as a result of suicide, approximately one every 16 minutes.(8)
One estimate puts the total economic costs of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among
youth in the United States at approximately $247 billion.(9)
The annual total estimated societal cost of substance abuse in the Unites States is $510.8 billion.(10)
In 2008, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with a serious
mental illness and 2 million youth aged 12 to 17 who had a major depressive episode during the past year.
Among persons aged 12 or older who used pain relievers non-medically in the past 12 months, 55.9 percent
got them from a friend or relative for free.(12)
2 Promoting Mental Health: Concepts, Emerging Evidence, Practice
(summary report). Geneva (CH): World Health Organization; 2004 WHO Reference
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2004; Hingson and Kenkel 2004; Levy et al. 1999; National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] 2003; Smith et al. 1999). Cited in Department of Health and
Human Services. The Surgeon General's Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. Department
of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2007.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost,
and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [serial online],
5 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2009). Results from the 2008 National Survey on
Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-36, HHS Publication No.
SMA 09-4434). Rockville, MD.
6 Kessler, R.C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K.R., & Walters, E.E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence
and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of
General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593-602.
7 Office of Applied Studies. (2009). Results from the 2008 National Survey on
Drug Use and Health: National Findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 09–4434, NSDUH Series H–36). Rockville, MD:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
8 National Vital Statistics Reports, vol 57, no 14. Deaths: Final Data for 2006 by Melonie Heron, Ph.D.; Donna L.
Hoyert, Ph.D.; Sherry L. Murphy, B.S.; Jiaquan Xu, M.D.; Kenneth D. Kochanek, M.A.; and Betzaida Tejada-Vera, B.S.;
Division of Vital Statistics. 9 National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2009), Preventing Mental, Emotional,
and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental
Disorders and Substance Abuse among Children, Youth, and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising
Interventions. Mary Ellen O’Connell, Thomas Boat, and Kenneth E. Warner, Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and
Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
10 Miller, T. and Hendrie, D. Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis. DHHS Pub. No.
(SMA) 07-4298. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009. 11 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2009). Results from the 2008
National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-36, HHS
Publication No. SMA 09-4434). Rockville, MD.
12 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2009). Results from the 2008 National Survey on Drug
Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-36, HHS Publication No. SMA 09-4434).
2010(“SAMHSA’s Roles & Action Plan- 2011-2014”)