Drug Use Estimates

1. Prevalence of Illegal Drug Use in the US Among People Aged 12 or Older

"In 2017, 30.5 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days (i.e., current use), which corresponds to about 1 in 9 Americans (11.2 percent). About 1 in 4 young adults aged 18 to 25 were current illicit drug users. Regardless of age, the estimates of current illicit drug use for 2017 were driven primarily by marijuana use and the misuse of prescription pain relievers. Among the 30.5 million people aged 12 or older who were current illicit drug users, 26.0 million were current marijuana users and 3.2 million were current misusers of prescription pain relievers. Smaller numbers of people were current users of cocaine, hallucinogens, methamphetamine, inhalants, or heroin or were current misusers of prescription tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives.

"The percentage of people aged 12 or older who were current marijuana users in 2017 was higher than the percentages in 2002 to 2016. The increase in marijuana use reflects increases in marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25 and adults aged 26 or older. Marijuana use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 was lower in 2017 than in most years from 2009 to 2014.

"NSDUH also allows for estimation of opioid misuse, which is the use of heroin or the misuse of prescription pain relievers. In 2017, an estimated 11.4 million people misused opioids in the past year, including 11.1 million pain reliever misusers and 886,000 heroin users. Among people aged 12 or older who misused pain relievers in the past year, about 6 out of 10 people indicated that the main reason they misused pain relievers the last time they misused them was to relieve physical pain (62.6 percent), and about half (53.1 percent) obtained the last pain reliever they misused from a friend or relative."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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2. Illegal Drug Use and Marijuana Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month in the US by Gender and Ethnicity

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which is conducted annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, estimates that in 2016, 130,628,000 people in the US aged 12 and older had tried an illegal drug or marijuana in their lifetimes, of whom 48,501,000 had tried an illegal drug or marijuana in the previous year, of whom 28,564,000 had tried an illegal drug or marijuana in the previous month.
By comparison, in 2015, 130,610,000 people in the US aged 12 and older had tried an illegal drug or marijuana in their lifetimes, of whom 47,730,000 had tried an illegal drug in the previous year, of whom 27,080,000 had tried an illegal drug in the previous month.
Also according to the NSDUH, in 2016, 118,524,000 people in the US aged 12 or older had tried marijuana in their lifetimes, of whom 37,570,000 had tried marijuana in the previous year, of whom 28,564,000 had tried marijuana in the previous month.
By comparison, in 2015, 117,865,000 people in the US aged 12 or older had tried marijuana in their lifetimes, of whom 36,043,000 had tried marijuana in the previous year, of whom 22,226,000 had tried marijuana in the previous month.

Click here for the full table "Illegal Drug Use and Marijuana Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month Among Persons Aged 12 and Older in the US, by Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender: Numbers in Thousands, 2015 and 2016.

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2017). 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, p. 167, Table 1.1A; p. 169, Table 1.2A; p. 179, Table 1.7A; p. 185, Table 1.10A; p. 223, Table 1.29A; p. 225, Table 1.30A; p. 227, Table 1.31A; p. 229, Table 1.32A; p. 231, Table 1.33A; and p. 233, Table 1.34A.
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3. Current Marijuana and Other Illegal Substance Use and Trends in the US

"The estimated 30.5 million people aged 12 or older who were current illicit drug users in 2017 represent 11.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figures 11 and 12). Stated another way, 1 in 9 individuals aged 12 or older in the United States used illicit drugs in the past month. Approximately 2.0 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2017 were current users of illicit drugs, which represents 7.9 percent of adolescents. Approximately 1 in 4 young adults aged 18 to 25 (24.2 percent) were current users of illicit drugs in 2017. This percentage corresponds to about 8.3 million young adults who were current users of illicit drugs. An estimated 9.5 percent of adults aged 26 or older were current users of illicit drugs, or about 20.2 million adults in this age group.

"Marijuana Use
"As noted in the illicit drug use section, an estimated 26.0 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2017 were current users of marijuana (Figure 11). This number of past month marijuana users corresponds to 9.6 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figure 13). The percentage of people aged 12 or older who were current marijuana users in 2017 was higher than the percentages from 2002 to 2016. This increase in marijuana use among people aged 12 or older reflects increases in marijuana use among both young adults aged 18 to 25 and adults aged 26 or older."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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4. Estimated Number of Persons in the US with a Substance Use Disorder

"In 2017, an estimated 20.7 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment. This translates to about 1 in 13 people who needed treatment. Among young adults aged 18 to 25, however, about 1 in 7 people needed treatment. For NSDUH, people are defined as needing substance use treatment if they had an SUD in the past year or if they received substance use treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.4

"In 2017, 1.5 percent of people aged 12 or older (4.0 million people) received any substance use treatment in the past year, and 0.9 percent (2.5 million) received substance use treatment at a specialty facility. About 1 in 8 people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year (12.2 percent).

"In 2017, among the estimated 18.2 million people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment but did not receive specialty treatment in the past year, about 1.0 million perceived they had a need for substance use treatment. About 2 in 5 people who perceived a need for treatment but did not receive treatment at a specialty facility were not ready to stop using, and about 1 in 3 had no health care coverage and were not able to afford the cost."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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5. How Federal Surveys Estimate the Prevalence Of Substance Use Disorders

"Illicit drug use disorder is defined as meeting DSM-IV criteria for either dependence or abuse for one or more of the following illicit drugs: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, or prescription psychotherapeutic drugs that were misused (i.e., pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives). There are seven possible dependence criteria for specific illicit drugs:
"1. spent a lot of time engaging in activities related to use of the drug,
"2. used the drug in greater quantities or for a longer time than intended,
"3. developed tolerance to the drug,
"4. made unsuccessful attempts to cut down on use of the drug,
"5. continued to use the drug despite physical health or emotional problems associated with use,
"6. reduced or eliminated participation in other activities because of use of the drug, and
"7. experienced withdrawal symptoms when respondents cut back or stopped using the drug.
"For most illicit drugs, dependence is defined as meeting three or more of these seven criteria. However, experiencing withdrawal symptoms is not included as a criterion for some illicit drugs based on DSM-IV criteria. For these substances, dependence is defined as meeting three or more of the first six criteria.
"Respondents who used (or misused) a specific illicit drug in the past 12 months and did not meet the dependence criteria for that drug were defined as having abuse were defined as meeting the abuse criteria for that drug if they reported one or more of the following:
"1. problems at work, home, and school because of use of the drug;
"2. regularly using the drug and then doing something physically dangerous;
"3. repeated trouble with the law because of use of the drug; and
"4. continued use of the drug despite problems with family or friends."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, p. 26. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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6. Estimated 30-Day Prevalence of Use of Various Drugs for Grades 8, 10, and 12 Combined


Click here for complete datatable of Estimated 30-Day Prevalence of Use of Various Drugs for Grades 8, 10, and 12 Combined in the US, 1998-2016

Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Miech, R. A., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2017). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2016: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, pp. 58-59, Table 3.
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

7. Prevalence of Drug Use Worldwide

"It is estimated that in 2016 some 275 million people worldwide had used drugs at least once in the previous year (range: 204 million to 346 million). Corresponding to 5.6 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years (range: 4.2 to 7.1 per cent), or approximately 1 of every 18 people. The actual number of people who use drugs increased by 20 million people from 2015 to 2016. This change is the consequence of an increase in the global number of cannabis users and, to a lesser extent, changes in the methodology used to produce this estimate.1 However, caution is required in interpreting trends because of the wide uncertainty intervals for the estimates."

World Drug Report 2018. United Nations publication, Sales No. E.18.XI.9.
https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/
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8. Estimated Prevalence of Past-Month Substance Use in US by Those Aged 12 and Older

In 2016, among people aged 12 and older in the United States:
An estimated 28,564,000 people were past-month users of any illicit drug.
An estimated 23,981,000 people were past-month users of marijuana or hashish.
An estimated 3,649,000 people were past-month users any opioid (including heroin and prescription pain relievers).
An estimated 1,874,000 people were past-month users of cocaine.
An estimated 63,429,000 people were past-month users of tobacco products.
An estimated 136,735,000 people were past-month alcohol users, of whom 65,327,000 were "binge drinkers" (binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks (for males) or four or more drinks (for females) on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days), of whom 16,288,000 were "heavy" alcohol users (heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days).

Click here for complete datatable of Estimated Prevalence of Past-Month Substance Use in US by Those Aged 12 and Older (Numbers In Thousands)

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2017). 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, p. 167, Table 1.1A; .
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Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, Tables 1.1A and 2.1A.
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Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, Tables 1.1A and 2.1A.
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Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2014). 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, Tables 1.1A and 2.1A.
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, Tables 1.1A and 2.1A.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol and Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings," NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol & Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2011). "Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings" (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4586 Findings). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). "Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings" (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4586 Findings). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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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.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2008). Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-34, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4343). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2007). Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-32, DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4293). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Results from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-30, DHHS Publication No. SMA 06-4194). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2005). Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-28, DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4062). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3964). Rockville, MD.
Report: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Illicit Drugs: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
Alcohol/Tobacco: http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...

9. Prevalence of Substance Use Among Youth in the US, by Race/Ethnicity

"For a number of years, 12th grade African-American students reported lifetime, annual, 30-day, and daily prevalence levels for nearly all drugs that were lower – sometimes dramatically so – than those for White or Hispanic 12th graders. That is less true today, with levels of drug use among African Americans more similar to the other groups. This narrowing of the gap between African Americans and other racial/ethnic groups is also seen in 8th and 10th grade, indicating that this narrowing in 12th grade is almost certainly not due primarily to differential dropout rates.

"• Whites have the lowest levels of annual marijuana use in 8th grade, at 7.3% compared to 11.5% and 11.4% for African American and Hispanic students, respectively. In 10th and 12th grade annual marijuana use differs little by race/ethnicity.

"• A number of drugs have consistently been much less popular among African-American teens than among White teens. These include hallucinogens, sedatives (barbiturates), tranquilizers, and narcotics other than heroin. Several additional drugs have historically been less popular among African-American teens but did not show much difference in 2017 among 8th graders, though they still are less popular in the upper grades. These include LSD, ecstasy, cocaine (in recent years), cocaine other than crack, amphetamines, and Vicodin.

"• By 12th grade, White students have the highest lifetime and annual prevalence levels among the three major racial/ethnic groups for many substances, including hallucinogens other than LSD, MDMA (ecstasy, Molly), narcotics other than heroin, amphetamines, sedatives (barbiturates), tranquilizers, alcohol, and been drunk. The differentials for LSD have narrowed considerably in recent years as overall prevalence has declined substantially for this drug. Not all of these findings are replicated at lower grade levels, however. See Tables 4-5 and 4-6 for specifics.

"• Hispanics in 2017 had the highest annual prevalence at all three grade levels for any illicit drug, cocaine, crack, and cocaine other than crack. It bears repeating that Hispanics have a considerably higher dropout rate than Whites or African Americans, based on Census Bureau statistics, which should tend to diminish any such differences by 12th grade, yet there remain sizeable differences even in the upper grades.

"• An examination of racial/ethnic comparisons at lower grade levels shows Hispanics having higher levels of use of many of the substances on which they have the highest levels of use in 12th grade, as well as for several other drugs. For example, in 2017, cocaine other than crack had a lifetime prevalence in 8th grade for Hispanics, Whites, and African Americans of 1.5%, 0.9%, and 0.5%, respectively. In fact, in 8th grade – before most dropping out occurs – Hispanics had the highest levels of use of almost all substances, whereas by 12th grade Whites have the highest levels of use of most. Certainly the considerably higher dropout rate among Hispanics could help explain this shift, and it may be the most plausible explanation. Another explanation worth consideration is that Hispanics may tend to start using drugs at a younger age, but Whites overtake them at older ages. These explanations are not mutually exclusive, of course, and to some degree both explanations may hold true.14

"• Table 4-8 shows that White students have by far the highest prevalence of daily cigarette smoking while African American and Hispanic students are now fairly close to each other among all three grades, for example, 12th grade Whites have a 5.8% daily smoking prevalence, Hispanics, 1.9%, and African Americans, 2.5%.

"• Thirty-day prevalence of smokeless tobacco use is highest among White students in all three grades.

"• African-American students also have the lowest 30-day prevalence for alcohol use in all three grades. They also have the lowest prevalence for self-reports of having been drunk during the prior 30 days. The differences are largest at 12th grade, with 24% of Whites reporting having been drunk, 17% of Hispanics, and 10% of African Americans.

"• Recent heavy drinking (having five or more drinks in a row during the prior two weeks) is also lowest among African Americans in all three grades; in 12th grade, their level of use is 7.7% versus 20% for Whites and 14% for Hispanics. The corresponding prevalence levels for 10th grade are 4.7% for African Americans vs. 11.0% for Whites and 11.3% for Hispanics. In 8th grade, Hispanics have the highest prevalence at 4.9% compared to 3.0% for Whites and 2.9% for African Americans.

"• There are important differences in ADHD treatment related to student race/ethnicity. In general, White students are considerably more likely to have used prescription ADHD drugs at each grade than African American or Hispanic students. Current use of either subclass of drugs (stimulant or non-stimulant) is also substantially higher among White students than among African American or Hispanic students in all three grades, with the exception that these differences are somewhat smaller for non-stimulant drugs in grades 10 and 12. In all three grades, African Americans and Hispanics have lifetime levels of use that are close to each other. However, in 8th grade, Hispanics have a somewhat lower level than African Americans in current use of each class of drugs and of any ADHD drug, while in 10th and 12th grade there is little difference in their use. As to why White students are more likely to be treated with ADHD drugs than African American and Hispanic students, it again may well be due to White families being more likely to get access to, or being able to afford, professional assessment and treatment.

"• Levels of past-year use for diet pills have been lowest for African Americans in all years, and Whites have typically had the highest levels of use, with Hispanics in the middle. In 2017, levels of past-year use were about two times as high for Whites as compared to African Americans, at 5.0% and 2.4% respectively, with Hispanics at 2.6%. These racial/ethnic differences have diminished in recent years as overall prevalence has declined.

"• Levels of past-year use of stay-awake pills are about twice as high for Whites as they are for African Americans and Hispanics, at 2.5%, 1.1%, and 1.3%, respectively. Differences in these groups were larger in past years when overall prevalence was higher. Use of these types of substances has not varied consistently by any of the other subgroup categories."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2018). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2017: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Available at
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

10. Marijuana Use Prevalence and Trends Among Youth in the US

"• Marijuana is by far the most widely used illicit drug. Nearly half of all 12th graders (45%), nearly one third of 10th graders (31%), and over one in seven 8th graders (14%) reported some marijuana use in their lifetime. Among 12th graders, 37% reported some use in the past year, and 23% reported some use in the past month. Among 10th graders, the corresponding percentages were 26% and 16%, respectively, and among 8th grade students, 10% and 5.5%.

"• Current daily marijuana use or near daily use (defined as use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days) is also noteworthy. About one in 17 twelfth graders (5.9%) used marijuana daily in the month prior to the survey, as did one in 34 tenth graders (2.9%) and one in 125 eighth graders (0.8%).

"• Using the questions on duration of daily use, we have found that, since 1982, the lifetime prevalence of daily marijuana use for a month or more has been far higher than the prevalence of current daily marijuana use. For example, among 12th graders in 2017, 14% reported using marijuana daily for at least a month at some point in their lives, which is more than twice as high as the 5.9% reporting current daily use. In past years the ratio was higher; for example, in 1988 the lifetime prevalence was more than four times as high as current prevalence (13% compared to 3%).

"• Use of synthetic marijuana has declined recently and in 2017 is fairly low, with annual prevalence levels at 2.0%, 2.7%, and 3.7% in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade, respectively.

"• Marijuana vaping has emerged in recent years as a new way to use marijuana. In 2017 the portion of adolescents who had ever tried it was 12%, 10%, and 4% in 12th, 10th, and 8th grade, respectively. The much higher levels of overall lifetime marijuana use indicate that traditional ways to use marijuana, such as smoking it, currently remain more common than vaping."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2018). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2017: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Available at
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

11. Estimated Age of Initiation of Substance Use By People in the US Aged 12 Or Older

"The illicit drugs with the largest number of recent initiates in 2016 were marijuana (2.6 million new users), prescription pain relievers (2.1 million new misusers), prescription tranquilizers (1.4 million new misusers), prescription stimulants (1.4 million new misusers), hallucinogens (1.2 million new users), and cocaine (1.1 million new users). In addition, there were 4.6 million new users of alcohol, 1.8 million people who tried a cigarette for the first time in the past year, and 1.2 million people who first used smokeless tobacco in the past year.34
"Figure 12 provides an overview of the average age at first use (or first misuse for prescription drugs) in 2016 among recent initiates aged 12 to 49. For many substances, the average age at initiation in 2016 was younger than age 20, with average ages of 17.4 years for alcohol, 18.0 years for cigarettes, 18.2 years for inhalants, 19.3 years for marijuana, and 19.6 years for any hallucinogen. However, some substances had older average initiation ages, such as methamphetamine (24.6 years) and heroin (25.5 years). The average ages at initiation for prescription drug misuse were in the early to mid-20s (23.9 years for prescription tranquilizers, 24.3 years for prescription stimulants, 24.4 years for prescription pain relievers, and 24.8 years for prescription sedatives)."

Lipari, R. N., Ahrnsbrak, R. D., Pemberton, M. R., & Porter, J. D. (2017, September). Risk and protective factors and estimates of substance use initiation: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. NSDUH Data Review, pp. 10-11. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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12. Perceived Risk and Prevalence of Crack Use and Among Young People in the US

"Crack cocaine use spread rapidly from the early to mid-1980s. Still, among 12th graders, the use of crack remained relatively low during this period (3.9% annual prevalence in 1987). Clearly, crack had quickly attained a reputation as a dangerous drug, and by the time of our first measurement of perceived risk in 1987, it was seen as the most dangerous of all drugs. Annual prevalence dropped sharply in the next few years, reaching 1.5% by 1991, where it remained through 1993. Perceived risk began a long and substantial decline after 1990 – again serving as a driver and leading indicator of use. (The decline in perceived risk in this period may well reflect generational forgetting of the dangers of this drug.)
"Annual prevalence among 12th graders rose gradually after 1993, from 1.5% to 2.7% by 1999. It finally declined slightly in 2000 and then held level through 2007. Since then, some additional decline has occurred. In 2016, annual prevalence for crack cocaine was at 0.8%.
"Among 8th and 10th graders, crack use rose gradually in the 1990s: from 0.7% in 1991 to 2.1% by 1998 among 8th graders, and from 0.9% in 1992 to 2.5% in 1998 among 10th graders. And, as just discussed, use among 12th graders peaked in 1999 at 2.7% and among young adults at 1.4%. Since those peak years, crack use has declined appreciably -- more than half among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders -- yet it held fairly steady among college students and young adults, at least until 2007, when use among college students finally began to decline. The 2016 prevalence levels for this drug were relatively low – less than 1% in all five groups. Twelfth graders had the highest prevalence. Annual crack prevalence among the college-bound has generally been considerably lower than among those not bound for college. Among 12th graders, the levels of use in 2016 were 0.7% for college-bound and 1.2% for noncollege-bound.
"We believe that the particularly intense and early media coverage of the hazards of crack cocaine likely had the effect of capping an epidemic early by deterring many would-be users and motivating many experimenters to desist use. As has been mentioned, when we first measured crack use in 1987, it had the highest level of perceived risk of any illicit drug. Also, it did not turn out to be “instantly addicting” upon first-time use, as had been widely reported. In some earlier years, 1994 and 1995 for example, 3% of 12th graders reported ever trying crack; however, only about 2% used in the prior 12 months and only about 1.0% used in the prior 30 days. It thus appears that, among the small numbers of 12th graders who have ever tried crack, the majority of those who tried it did not establish a pattern of continued use, let alone develop an addiction."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2017). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2016: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, pp. 20-21. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

13. Estimated Prevalence of Current Illegal Drug Use In The US By People Aged 12 Or Older

"In 2016, 28.6 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, which corresponds to about 1 in 10 Americans overall (10.6 percent) but ranges as high as 1 in 4 for young adults aged 18 to 25. Regardless of age, the illicit drug use estimate for 2016 continues to be driven primarily by marijuana use and the misuse of prescription pain relievers. Among people aged 12 or older, 24.0 million were current marijuana users and 3.3 million were current misusers of prescription pain relievers. Smaller numbers of people were current users of cocaine, hallucinogens, methamphetamine, inhalants, or heroin or were current misusers of prescription tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives.
"The percentage of people aged 12 or older who were current marijuana users in 2016 was higher than the percentages from 2002 to 2015. In contrast, the percentages among people aged 12 or older have shown little change since 2007 for current use of cocaine, since 2008 for current use of crack cocaine, and since 2014 for current use of heroin. The increase in marijuana use reflects increases in marijuana use among adults aged 26 or older and, to a lesser extent, among young adults aged 18 to 25. Marijuana use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 was lower in 2016 than in most years from 2009 to 2014."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, p. 1. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...

14. Estimated Prevalence of Substance Use Dependence or Addiction in the US by Race/Ethnicity, According to NSDUH

"In 2015, approximately 20.8 million people aged 12 or older had an SUD in the past year, including 15.7 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 7.7 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder (Figure 27). An estimated 2.7 million people aged 12 or older had both an alcohol use disorder and an illicit drug use disorder in the past year (Figure 28). Thus, among people aged 12 or older in 2015 who had an SUD in the past year, nearly 3 out of 4 had an alcohol use disorder, and about 1 out of 3 had an illicit drug use disorder. About 1 in 8 people aged 12 or older who had SUDs in the past year had both an alcohol use disorder and an illicit drug use disorder.

"Of the 7.7 million people aged 12 or older who had a past year SUD related to their use of illicit drugs, 4.0 million had a past year disorder related to their use of marijuana, and 2.0 million people had a disorder related to their misuse of prescription pain relievers (Figure 27). Smaller numbers of people in 2015 had disorders in the past year related to their use of cocaine or heroin.

"The 20.8 million people who had SUDs in 2015 (Figure 27) represent 7.8 percent of people aged 12 or older (Figure 29). This percentage of people in 2015 who had SUDs corresponds to about 1 in 13 people aged 12 or older. An estimated 1.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 had SUDs in 2015, which represents 5.0 percent of adolescents, or about 1 in 20 adolescents. In 2015, 5.3 million young adults aged 18 to 25 had SUDs; this number of young adults with SUDs represents 15.3 percent of young adults, or about 1 in 7 young adults. An estimated 14.2 million adults aged 26 or older in 2015 had SUDs, which represents 6.9 percent of adults aged 26 or older, or about 1 in 15 adults in this age group."

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51), pp. 21-22. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...

15. Estimated Prevalence of Crack and Cocaine Use by Young People in the US

"Crack, a form of cocaine that comes in small chunks or 'rocks,' can be smoked to produce a rapid and intense but short-lasting high. In 2015 it had lifetime prevalence levels of under 2% in all three grade levels: 1.0% for 8th, 1.1% for 10th, and 1.7% for 12th graders.
"Of all students reporting any cocaine use in their lifetime, significant proportions have some experience with crack: Nearly two thirds of 8th-grade cocaine users (63%), two fifths of 10th-grade users (41%) and more than two fifths of 12th-grade users (43%) reported having used crack (data derivable from Table 4-1)."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Page 93. Available at
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

16. Prevalence of Current Alcohol Use In The US, 2015

"In 2015, 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older reported current use of alcohol, 66.7 million reported binge alcohol use in the past month, and 17.3 million reported heavy alcohol use in the past month (Figure 21). Thus, nearly half of current alcohol users reported binge alcohol use (48.2 percent), and about 1 in 8 current alcohol users reported heavy alcohol use (12.5 percent). Among binge alcohol users, about 1 in 4 (26.0 percent) were heavy users.
"Current Alcohol Use
"The estimate of 138.3 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2015 (Figure 21) corresponds to alcohol use in the past month by slightly more than half (51.7 percent) of people aged 12 or older (Figure 22). The 2015 estimate of past month alcohol use was similar to the estimate in 2005 to 2013, but it was lower than the 2014 estimate."

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51), p. 18. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...

17. Prevalence of Marijuana Use among People in the US Aged 12 or Older

In 2015:
an estimated 117,865,000 people aged 12 or older in the US had tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes.
an estimated 36,043,000 people aged 12 or older in the US had tried marijuana at least once in the past year.
an estimated 22,226,000 people aged 12 or older in the US had tried marijuana at least once in the past month.

Click here for the complete datatable "Marijuana Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons in the US Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Number in Thousands"

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, p. 242, Table 1.33A.
https://www.samhsa.gov...
https://www.samhsa.gov...

18. Alcohol Use Among African-Americans In The US, 2002-2008

"Past month alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and illicit drug use remained relatively stable among black adults between 2002 and 2008 (Figure1).4,5
"Combined 2004 to 2008 data indicate that, in the past month, 44.3 percent of black adults used alcohol, 21.7 percent reported binge alcohol use, and 9.5 percent used an illicit drug (Figure 2).
"Rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use were lower among black adults than the national averages. The rate of past month illicit drug use among black adults, however, was higher than the national average.
"Rates of past month and binge alcohol use were considerably lower among young black adults than the national average of young adults (48.6 vs. 61.1 percent and 25.3 vs. 41.6 percent, respectively) (Figure 3). Past month illicit drug use among young black adults was slightly lower than the national average (18.7 vs. 19.7 percent).
"Older black adults had a rate of past month alcohol use that was considerably lower than the national average of older adults (20.3 vs. 38.3 percent) (Figure 4). Their rates of binge alcohol use and past month illicit drug use, however, did not differ significantly from the national averages.
"Compared with the national averages, adult black females had lower rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use and a slightly higher rate of past month illicit drug use (Table 1).
"Compared with the national averages, adult black males had lower rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use and a slightly higher rate of past month illicit drug use (Table 2)."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (February 18, 2010). "The NSDUH Report: Substance Use among Black Adults." Rockville, MD, pp. 3-5.
http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/174...

19. Prevalence of Drug Use in the US by Race/Ethnicity

"• In 2013, among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use was 3.1 percent among Asians, 8.8 percent among Hispanics, 9.5 percent among whites, 10.5 percent among blacks, 12.3 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives, 14.0 percent among Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, and 17.4 percent among persons reporting two or more races.
"• There were no statistically significant differences in the rates of current illicit drug use between 2012 and 2013 for any of the racial/ethnic groups. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 8.5 to 9.5 percent for whites. Among blacks, the rate increased from 8.7 percent in 2003 and 2004 to 10.5 percent in 2013 (Figure 2.12)."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014, p. 26.
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...

20. Substance Use by Hispanic Youth in the US

"Fifty-two percent of Hispanic youth report using illicit drugs in the past year (vs. 42 percent for African-American youth and 40 percent for Caucasian teens). They are also more likely than other teens to have used prescription medicine, Ecstasy or cocaine/crack to get high.
"Marijuana use levels are of significant concern among Hispanic youth. Half of Hispanic teens report smoking marijuana in the past year (43 percent more than Caucasian teens and 25 percent more than African-American youth)."

"The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: 2011 Parents and Teens Full Report," MetLife Foundation and The Partnership at Drugfree.org (New York, NY: May 2, 2012), p. 8.
http://www.drugfree.org/wp-con...

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