Drug Use Estimates

1. Prevalence of Illegal Drug Use in the US Among 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.
"NSDUH also allows for analysis of opioid misuse, which is the use of heroin or the misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers. In 2016, an estimated 11.8 million people misused opioids in the past year, including 11.5 million pain reliever misusers and 948,000 heroin users. Additional information is gathered in NSDUH for the misuse of pain relievers in the past year. 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 was to relieve physical pain (62.3 percent), and about half (53.0 percent) indicated that they obtained the last pain relievers they misused from a friend or relative."

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. 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. Estimated Number of Persons in the US with a Substance Use Disorder

"In 2016, approximately 20.1 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year,1 including 15.1 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 7.4 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder. Among those who had an illicit drug use disorder, the most common disorder was for marijuana (4.0 million people). An estimated 2.1 million people had an opioid use disorder, which includes 1.8 million people with a prescription pain reliever use disorder and 0.6 million people with a heroin use disorder."

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. 2. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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4. Current Marijuana and Other Illegal Substance Use and Trends in the US

"The estimated 28.6 million people aged 12 or older who were current illicit drug users in 2016 represent 10.6 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figures 15 and 16). Stated another way, 1 in 10 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 2016 were current users of illicit drugs, which represents 7.9 percent of adolescents. Approximately 1 in 4 young adults aged 18 to 25 (23.2 percent) were current users of illicit drugs in 2016. This percentage corresponds to about 8.0 million young adults who were current users of illicit drugs. An estimated 8.9 percent of adults aged 26 or older were current users of illicit drugs, or about 18.6 million adults in this age group.
"Marijuana Use
"As noted in the illicit drug use section, an estimated 24.0 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2016 were current users of marijuana (Figure 15). This number of past month marijuana users corresponds to 8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figure 17). The percentage of people aged 12 or older who were current marijuana users in 2016 was higher than the percentages from 2002 to 2015. This increase in marijuana use among people aged 12 or older reflects the increase in marijuana use by adults aged 26 or older and, to a lesser extent, the increase in marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25."

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, pp. 14-15. 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. 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.
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
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.
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
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...
http://archive.samhsa.gov/data...
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...

8. Prevalence of Drug Use Worldwide

"It is estimated that 1 in 20 adults, or a quarter of a billion people aged 15-64 years, used at least one drug in 2014. Although trends in drug use vary across regions, as does updated reporting on data, the extent of drug use among the world population has remained stable over the past four years. Almost 12 per cent of the total number of people who use drugs, or over 29 million people, are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders."

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2016 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.16.XI.7), p. 1.
http://www.unodc.org/wdr2016/
http://www.unodc.org/doc/wdr20...

9. Estimated Prevalence of and Attitudes Toward Marijuana Use Among Youth in the US, 2015

"Marijuana, the most widely used of the illicit drugs, did not show any significant change in annual prevalence this year in any of the three grades, nor in the three grades combined. After rising for several years, the annual prevalence of marijuana has more or less leveled out since about 2010.
"This year, 12 percent of 8th ­graders, 25 percent of 10th ­graders and 35 percent of 12th ­graders reported using marijuana at least once in the prior 12 months. Of more importance, perhaps, is their daily or near-­daily marijuana use (defined as smoking marijuana on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days). These rates stand at 1.1 percent, 3.0 percent and 6.0 percent in 8th, 10th and 12th grades, respectively.
"In other words, one in every 16 or 17 high school seniors is smoking marijuana daily or near daily. These rates have changed rather little since 2010, but are from three-­to-­six times higher than they were at their low point in 1991.
"'The proportion of our young people smoking marijuana this frequently remains a matter of concern,' Johnston said.[2],[3]
"He notes that the percent of students who see regular marijuana use as carrying a great risk of harm has declined substantially since about 2005, and is still declining. Over the past 10 years, the percent seeing a great risk in regular marijuana use has fallen among 8th ­graders from 74 percent to 58 percent, among 10th ­graders from 66 percent to 43 percent and among 12th­graders from 58 percent to 32 percent."

Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Miech, R.A., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (December 16, 2015). "Use of ecstasy, heroin, synthetic marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes declined among US teens in 2015," University of Michigan News Service: Ann Arbor, MI, p. 5.
http://www.monitoringthefuture...

10. Estimated Age of Initiation of Substance Use By People 12 Or Older In The US

"Figure 10 provides an overview of the numbers of past year initiates in 2015 for the majority of substances that are discussed in this section of the report. The illicit drugs with the largest number of recent initiates in 2015 were marijuana (2.6 million new users), prescription pain relievers (2.1 million new misusers), prescription tranquilizers (1.4 million new misusers), prescription stimulants (1.3 million new misusers), and hallucinogens (1.2 million new users). In addition, there were 4.8 million new users of alcohol, 2.0 million people who tried a cigarette for the first time in the past year, and 1.3 million people who first used smokeless tobacco in the past year.35
"Figure 11 provides an overview of the average age at first use (or first misuse for prescription drugs) among recent initiates aged 12 to 49. For many substances, the average age at initiation in 2015 was under the age of 20, with average ages of 17.4 years for inhalants, 17.6 years for alcohol, 17.9 years for cigarettes, 19.0 years for marijuana, and 19.6 years for any hallucinogen and for LSD. However, there were some substances with older average initiation ages, such as heroin (25.4 years) and methamphetamine (25.8 years). The average ages at initiation for the misuse of prescription psychotherapeutics were in the early to late 20s (22.3 years for prescription stimulants, 25.8 years for prescription pain relievers, 25.9 years for prescription tranquilizers, and 28.3 years for prescription sedatives)."

Lipari, R. N., Williams, M. R., Copello, E. A. P., & Pemberton, M. R. (2016, October). Risk and protective factors and estimates of substance use initiation: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. NSDUH Data Review, p. 1. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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