Drug Use Prevalence

71. Drug-Positive Rates In US Military

"While the overall illicit drug use rate is holding constant, the number of MRO reviews is increasing (includes legitimate prescription drug use and positive UAs for other pharmaceutical drugs; see Figure 15, page 54). As previously noted, current policy governing prescription drug use may be masking illicit drug use due to open-ended prescriptions. Overall use of amphetamines (including both legal and illegal) is growing at a rate of 2.8 percent per year for all COMPOS. This means that by the end of next year it is expected that there will be over 5,000 MRO [Medical Regulating Officer] reviewable positive tests for amphetamines alone. Among the street drugs, marijuana is increasing significantly within the National Guard population. In fact, if we look at the rate of THC positives over the last four years, it is predicted that over 7,500 Guard Soldiers will test positive for THC this year."

"Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Report," United States Army (Washington, DC: 2010), p. 78.

72. Tobacco Use Among Military Personnel

"For the DoD services, the percentage of military personnel who smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days decreased significantly from 51% in 1980 to 30% in 1998. It increased significantly from 1998 (30%) to 2002 (34%), and while not showing significant declines in 2005 (32%) and in 2008 (31%), has been slowly trending downward since 2002."

Robert M. Bray, et al., "2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel, A Component of the Defense Lifestyle Assessment Program (DLAP)" (Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International, Sept. 2009), p. 46.

73. Binge Drinking Among Military Personnel

"In 2008, 47% of all DoD services personnel were binge drinkers. For all DoD services, binge drinking increased between 1998 and 2008 but was stable between 2005 and 2008.
"For each service, binge drinking also increased overall between 1998 and 2008. Between 2005 and 2008, binge drinking rates significantly increased for the Navy and the Air Force and were stable for the Army and the Marine Corps."

Robert M. Bray, et al., "2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel, A Component of the Defense Lifestyle Assessment Program (DLAP)" (Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International, Sept. 2009), p. 46.

74. Heavy Drinking, Military Personnel Compared with Civilian Population

"Military personnel aged 18 to 25 showed significantly higher rates of heavy drinking (26%) than did civilians (16%).
"Likewise, military personnel aged 26 to 35 showed higher rates of heavy drinking (18%) than did their civilian counterparts (11%). For those aged 36 to 45, this rate was slightly higher for military personnel than civilians (10% vs. 8%) though this difference did not reach statistical significance.
"Among those aged 46 to 64, military personnel exhibited lower rates of heavy alcohol use (4%) than did civilians (9%).
"Across all age groups, military personnel showed significantly higher rates of heavy drinking (20%) than did civilians (14%)."

Robert M. Bray, et al., "2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel, A Component of the Defense Lifestyle Assessment Program (DLAP)" (Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International, Sept. 2009), p. 54.

75. Drug Usage - Data - 2003 - 2-7-10

(Drug Use by Veterans, 2003) "In 2003, there were an estimated 25 million veterans comprising roughly 11.5 percent of the 217 million non-institutionalized civilians aged 17 or older in the United States."
"An estimated 3.5 percent of veterans used marijuana in the past month compared with 3.0 percent of their nonveteran counterparts in 2003"
"Heavy use of alcohol was more prevalent among veterans than comparable nonveterans, with an estimated 7.5 percent of veterans drinking heavily in the past month compared with 6.5 percent of their nonveteran counterparts."
"Using criteria from the DSM-IV, an estimated 2.6 percent of veterans were dependent on alcohol in the past year (Figure 2). A much smaller proportion of veterans (0.9 percent) was dependent on illicit drugs in the past year."
"An estimated 0.8 percent of veterans received specialty treatment4 for a substance use disorder (alcohol or illicit drugs) in the past year compared with 0.5 percent of their nonveteran counterparts (Figure 3). An estimated 2.8 percent of veterans were dependent on illicit drugs or alcohol but did not receive treatment in the past year.5 A similar proportion of comparable nonveterans went untreated."

Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Substance Use, Dependence, and Treatment among Veterans," (Rockville, MD: The NSDUH Report, November 2005).

76. Progression of Drug Use Among Young Adults in Large Cities in the US

"In conclusion, patterns of prescription drug misuse among high-risk young adults in LA and NY appear to conform to and be shaped by differences in local markets for illicit drugs in each city. Our findings indicate that current misuse of prescription drugs in both cities encompasses a broad range of practices, such as sniffing, injecting, polydrug use, and drug substitution, and involves frequent misuse of illicit substances. Initiation into prescription drug misuse was often preceded by being prescribed one or more types of prescription drugs, which was then followed by initiating illicit drugs with similar psychotropic effects."

Lankenau, Stephen E.; Schrager, Sheree M.; Silva, Karol; Kecojevic, Alex; Bloom, Jennifer Jackson; Wong, Carolyn; and Iverson, Ellen, "Misuse of prescription and illicit drugs among high-risk young adults in Los Angeles and New York," Journal of Public Health Research (Pravia, Italy: February 14, 2012) Vol 1, No 1, p. 29.

77. Drug Usage - Research - 3-31-12

(Use Unrelated to Enforcement) "Opponents of drug policy reform commonly argue that drug use would increase if health-based models were emphasized over drug law enforcement,14 but we are unaware of any research to support this position. In fact, a recent World Health Organization study demonstrated that international rates of drug use were unrelated to how vigorously drug laws were enforced, concluding that 'countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones.'15"

Wood, Evan; McKinnon, Moira; Strang, Robert; and Kendall, Perry R., " Improving community health and safety in Canada through evidence-based policies on illegal drugs," Open Medicine (Ottawa, Canada: 2012) Vol 6, No 1, p. 1.

78. Chronic Substance Use and Employment

"In conclusion, this study found that chronic drug use was significantly related to employment status for men and women. On the other hand, male chronic drug users were less likely to participate in the labor force, but no significant relationship existed between chronic drug use and labor force participation for females. Perhaps the most important finding of this study, however, was the lack of any significant relationships between nonchronic drug use, employment, and labor force participation. An implication of this finding is that employers and policy makers should focus on problematic drug users in the same way that they focus on problematic alcohol users."

French, Michael T., M. Christopher Roebuck, and Pierre Kebreau Alexandre, "Illicit Drug Use, Employment, and Labor Force Participation," Southern Economic Journal (Southern Economic Association: Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2001), 68(2), p. 366.

79. Global Burden of Disease, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorders

"In 2010, mental and substance use disorders accounted for 183.9 million DALYs [Disability-Adjusted Life Years] (95% UI 153.5 million–216.7 million), or 7.4% (6.2–8.6) of all DALYs worldwide. Such disorders accounted for 8.6 million YLLs [Years of Life Lost] (6.5 million–12.1 million; 0.5% [0.4–0.7] of all YLLs) and 175.3 million YLDs [Years Lived with Disability] (144.5 million–207.8 million; 22.9% [18.6–27.2] of all YLDs). Mental and substance use disorders were the leading cause of YLDs worldwide. Depressive disorders accounted for 40.5% (31.7–49.2) of DALYs caused by mental and substance use disorders, with anxiety disorders accounting for 14.6% (11.2–18.4), illicit drug use disorders for 10.9% (8.9–13.2), alcohol use disorders for 9.6% (7.7–11.8), schizophrenia for 7.4% (5.0–9.8), bipolar disorder for 7.0% (4.4–10.3), pervasive developmental disorders for 4.2% (3.2–5.3), childhood behavioural disorders for 3.4% (2.2–4.7), and eating disorders for 1.2% (0.9–1.5). DALYs varied by age and sex, with the highest proportion of total DALYs occurring in people aged 10–29 years. The burden of mental and substance use disorders increased by 37.6% between 1990 and 2010, which for most disorders was driven by population growth and ageing."

Harvey A Whiteford, Louisa Degenhardt, Jürgen Rehm, Amanda J Baxter, Alize J Ferrari, Holly E Erskine, Fiona J Charlson, Rosana E Norman, Abraham D Flaxman, Nicole Johns, Roy Burstein, Christopher JL Murray, and Theo Vos, "Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010," The Lancet, 29 August 2013 (Article in Press DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61611-6).

80. Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Employment

Sociopolitical Research

"There were little or no differences in the probability of employment by lifetime alcohol and drug use patterns. Men who had an alcohol disorder at some point in their life were equally likely as men who had never drunk alcohol to be currently employed (.91) and only slightly less likely than moderate alcohol users (.91 vs. .92, p=.09). Similarly, men who had a drug disorder at some point in their life were somewhat less likely (.90 vs. 92, p=.07) to be currently employed, but there was no statistically difference between moderate drug users and non-users. Differences among men by their current (last 12 months) alcohol and, especially, drug use patterns were greater. Current moderate alcohol drinkers were actually more likely than those who had not drunk alcohol in the last year to be employed (.93 vs. 91), while those with a current alcohol problem were less likely to be employed than either moderate or nondrinkers (.89). In contrast to moderate alcohol users, current moderate drug users were less likely to be employed than nonusers (.88 vs. .92). Men with a current drug problem were substantially less likely to be employed (.82) than either moderate or non drug users."

Zuvekas S, Cooper PF, Buchmueller TC. Health Behaviors and Labor Market Status: The Impact of Substance Abuse. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Working Paper No. 05013, April 2005, p. 12.