A Census Of Our Lost Lifetimes

Lost and alone

Image via PxHere.com

Have you ever wondered just how much life drugs and alcohol have taken from us? It turns out that the U.S. Census Bureau keeps detailed records of a statistic called Years of Potential Life Lost, or YPLL. This measures the average life expectancy against premature deaths.

If we were to add up all of the early deaths attributable to drug and alcohol abuse, we’d find that we lose an unthinkable 2,002,016 years of potential human life each year. You read that correctly; every calendar year, drugs and alcohol rob us of more than 2 million years of life.

This loss of life is equivalent to 25,439 complete, individual human lifetimes. What could we have done with all that lost time?

To find out, we consulted the most recent U.S. Census data and scaled it down to fit our smaller sampling of 25,439 individuals.

Don’t Become a Statistic

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to contact a recovery center.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • GlobalDrugPolicy.org
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information
  • U.S. Census Bureau


Author: Daniel Faris, Blogger at New Music Friday and BlogSpike