Drug Use Prevalence

11. 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/
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/si...

12. Perceived Risk and Prevalence of Cocaine and 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 2015 annual prevalence for crack cocaine was at 1.1%.
"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—by 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 2015 prevalence levels for this drug are relatively low—between 0.2% and 1.1% in all five groups. Twelfth graders have 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 2015 are 0.7% for college-bound and 2.2% for noncollege-bound."

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. Pages 20-21. Available at
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

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

"In 2015, an estimated 27.1 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning that they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview (Figure 1). The most commonly used illicit drug in the past month was marijuana, which was used by 22.2 million people aged 12 or older. An estimated 6.4 million people reported misusing psychotherapeutic drugs in the past month, including 3.8 million people who were misusers of prescription pain relievers. Thus, the number of current misusers of pain relievers was second to marijuana among specific illicit drugs. Smaller numbers of people in 2015 were current users of the other illicit drugs shown in Figure 1.19
"Any Illicit Drug Use
"The estimated 27.1 million people aged 12 or older who were current illicit drug users in 2015 (Figure 1) represent 10.1 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figure 2). Stated another way, 1 in 10 individuals aged 12 or older in the United States used illicit drugs in the past month. Approximately 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2015 were current users of illicit drugs, which represents 8.8 percent of adolescents. Approximately 1 in 5 young adults aged 18 to 25 (22.3 percent) were current users of illicit drugs in 2015. This percentage corresponds to about 7.8 million young adults in 2015 who were current users of illicit drugs. In 2015, 8.2 percent of adults aged 26 or older were current users of illicit drugs, or about 17.1 million 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). Pages 6-7. Retrieved from
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sit...
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sit...

14. 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 grades, indicating that this narrowing in 12th grade is almost certainly not due primarily to differential dropout rates.
"• The distribution of annual marijuana use by race/ethnicity varies by grade level. In all three grades prevalence is highest among Hispanic students. Differences in prevalence across the groups are proportionately largest in 8th grade (15% for Hispanics and 9% for Whites), somewhat smaller in 10th grade (31% for Hispanics compared to 25% for Whites), and negligible in 12th grade (36% for Hispanics and 35% for Whites). African Americans fall in between Whites and Hispanics in grades 8 and 10 but are slightly below them at 12th grade (33%).
"• A number of drugs have consistently been much less popular among African-American teens than among White teens. These include hallucinogens, amphetamines, 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 2015 among 8th graders, though they still are less popular in the upper grades. These include LSD, ecstasy, cocaine (in recent years), powder cocaine, 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, 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 now have the highest annual prevalence for crack and cocaine at all three grade levels. The prevalence of cocaine for Hispanic students has tended to be high compared to the other two racial/ethnic groups, particularly in the lower grades. 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 in the upper grades."

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, p. 109. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

15. 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...

16. 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...

17. Prevalence of Alcohol Use In The US

"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...

18. 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...

19. 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...

20. 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...

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