Addiction Calculator

Created by Mateusz Mucha and Dominika Śmiałek, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Steven Wooding, Jack Bowater and Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Based on research by
Westman J, Wahlbeck K, Laursen TM, Gissler M, Nordentoft M, Hällgren J, Arffman M, Ösby U. Mortality and life expectancy of people with alcohol use disorder in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (April 2015)See 5 more sources
Jha P, Ramasundarahettige C, Landsman V, Rostron B, Thun M, Anderson RN, McAfee T, Peto R. 21st-Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Cessation in the United States The new england journal of medicine (January 2013)Corkery JM, Claridge H, Goodair C, Schifano F. An exploratory study of information sources and key findings on UK cocaine-related deaths. Journal of Psychopharmacology (August 2017)Herbeck DM, Brecht ML, Lovinger K. Mortality, causes of death, and health status among methamphetamine users. Journal of Addictive Diseases (2015)Darke S, Marel C, Mills KL, Ross J, Slade T, Tessson M. Years of potential life lost amongst heroin users in the Australian Treatment Outcome Study cohort, 2001–2015 Drug and Alcohol Dependence (May 2016)Clode D., Martyres R., Nicholls M., Alla J. Methadone-related deaths and prescription drug use Department of Human Servicesof Victori (January 2009)
Last updated: Jul 25, 2022

Addiction not only causes a great deal of suffering, social problems, and difficulties maintaining relationships, it can also significantly shorten your life. This addiction calculator tells you what your life expectancy would be if you were addicted to several different drugs, and how much shorter this is compared to the average life expectancy.

Addiction and substance use disorder (SUD)

A substance use disorder (SUD) is a medical condition that occurs when one's use of alcohol or drugs leads to health issues or problems at work, school, or home. SUD is a group of mental, physical, and behavioral symptoms that cause various problems related to the areas mentioned above. Substances involved in SUD are:

  • alcohol
  • phencyclidine
  • inhalants
  • stimulants
  • cannabis
  • opioids
  • tobacco
  • sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics.

Drug addiction is an element of substance use disorders. It is a brain disorder where a person's behavior leads to an inability to control the use of a drug or (even legal) medication. The condition is manifested by a compulsive substance use, despite the harmful consequences.

Drugs outlined in this addiction calculator

Our tool considers the following substances:

  • alcohol - the average alcoholic drinks 2.15 "standard drinks" per day.
  • cigarettes - 20 cigarettes every day.
  • cocaine - one gram per day, split into 6 doses.
  • methamphetamine - 5.3 hits per day.
  • heroin- 3 injections per day.
  • methadone - 4 pills per day.
How much time does a lifelong addicti lose when using the average daily dose - graph
Source: dailymail.co.uk, after: treatment4addiction.com

Methadone is the drug of choice when treating heroin or narcotic painkiller addiction. The drug is also an opioid and is used to treat extreme pain. Due to the recent increase in the number of methadone prescriptions, as well as a rise in its illegal use, there have been reports of methadone-related deaths. In this addiction calculator, we concentrate only on methadone as an illegal substance, not as a treatment prescribed by a physician.

How does this addiction calculator work?

To use the tool, simply choose a substance from the drop-down list and enter the daily dose of the respective drug and the age at which the habit is picked up. Select your country to get an accurate value for life expectancy (Wikipedia comes to the rescue, as always).

Sources & data

This calculator is based on data retrieved from clinical studies or research papers, according to which:

  • alcohol - shortens your life by 6.5 hours.
  • cigarettes - cuts your life by 14.1 minutes.
  • cocaine - removes 6.6 hours of your life.
  • methamphetamine - reduces your life by 9.2 hours.
  • heroin - takes 24 hours off your life.
  • methadone - shortens your life by 14.7 hours.

The time lost listed above is the time lost for each dose that a lifelong addict takes.

Special acknowledgments go to Treatment4Addiction which aggregated and analyzed data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as other sources.

There are a few areas where the data behind this calculator is not perfect - the statistic for average life expectancy includes addicts (and people who died at an early age), and the fact that a shorter lifespan isn't only related to health issues but also to accidents, crime-related deaths, etc. This is all based on statistical data - so particular cases may be far from the average.
The calculator was instead designed to raise awareness about the gravity of the problem. Please feel free to fill in the numbers and share on Facebook or Twitter using the "link to this result".

Omni Calculator is not a doctor - all information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for medical consultation. Should any of the abovementioned conditions refer to you, reach out to a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

Mateusz Mucha and Dominika Śmiałek, MD, PhD candidate
Addiction type
Cigarettes
Life lost
14.1
min
/dose
Times used
/
per day
Age start
years old
Country
United States
Non-addict life expectancy
yrs
mos
Addict's life expectancy
yrs
mos
Addiction duration
yrs
mos
Total life lost
yrs
mos
days
Note that the calculator estimates life lost for people who continue to use stimulants.
If you no longer take them, your life expectancy may be higher.
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