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

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"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."

Source: 

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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