Alcohol and drug dependence often go hand in hand; research shows that people who are dependent on alcohol are much more likely than the general population to use drugs, and people with drug dependence are much more likely than the general population to drink alcohol.

According to NESARC, a study that examined the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use and abuse in the United States:

  • 15.3 million adults meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder*
  • Of those, 2.3 million adults meet the criteria for a drug use disorder*

Patients with both alcohol and other drug use disorders:

  • May have more severe dependence-related problems**
  • Are more likely to have psychiatric disorders and are more likely to attempt suicide and suffer health problems**
  • Are at risk for dangerous interactions between the substances they use, including fatal poisonings**

Because many people suffer from both alcohol and drug dependence, scientists speculate that these disorders may have some common causes and risk factors

Learn more about alcohol and other substance abuse.

*Stinson FS et al., Drug and Alcohol Dependence 80 (2005) 105–116
**Alcohol Alert 78, Alcohol & Other Drugs