Two charts show some revealing patterns about how Americans use drugs and alcohol

Each month, 52.7% of the US population over the age of 12 has at least one drink.

That’s according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which Recovery Brands, an organisation that works to connect individuals seeking addiction treatment with resources, used to create a new report that takes a look at people’s monthly drug use.

Recovery Brands came up with a novel way for people to look at the data by breaking the numbers down and limiting the US population to 1,000 people — pared down significantly from the usual 319 million.

According to the data, about a third of Americans said that in addition to alcohol, they’d also used either tobacco, illicit drugs or both sometime in the past month.

Here’s what America’s drug habit would look like if we were a nation of just 1,000 people:

With the US facing an opioid addiction crisis, keeping track of these numbers is integral to understanding who’s using what and how frequently. Drug overdose deaths reached an all-time high in 2014, with opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin accounting for about 60% of those deaths. Keeping an eye on trends in drug use can demonstrate what the biggest health concerns are at a particular time, and what could be done to change that.

Take cigarettes, for example. As the chart below shows, the number of people using tobacco dropped significantly between 2004 and 2014, with fewer young people smoking as well. And although the group who smoked the most continued to be people in their early 20s, that overall percentage was significantly lower in 2014 compared to a decade earlier.

This is good news for America’s health: From 1991 to 2012, lung cancer death rates decreased 38%. The number of new lung cancer cases has also been dropping.

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