Illicit Drug Use Among Military Personnel

Substance Use in the Military

"The prevalence of any reported illicit drug use (including prescription drug misuse) during the past 30 days declined sharply from 28% in 1980 to 3% in 2002. In 2005, the prevalence of illicit drug use for the past 30 days was 5% and in 2008 it was 12%. Improved question wording in 2005 and 2008 may partially account for the higher observed rates, which are largely attributable to reported increases in misuse of prescription pain medications (see Section 3.3.2 for additional discussion). Because of wording changes, data from 2005 and 2008 are not comparable to data from prior surveys and are not included as part of the trend line. An additional line from 2002 to 2008 shows estimates of illicit drug use excluding prescription drug misuse. As shown, those rates were very low (2% in 2008) and did not change across these three iterations of the survey."


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.