Drug Use Estimates

61. Estimated Prevalence of and Attitudes Toward Marijuana Use Among Youth in the US in 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...

62. Global Distribution of Drug Use

"Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly. In general, the US had among the highest levels of use of all drugs. Much lower levels were observed in lower income countries in Africa and the Middle East, and lower levels of use were reported in the Asian locales covered."

Degenhardt, Louisa; Chiu, Wai-Tat; Sampson, Nancy; Kessler, Ronald C.; Anthony, James C.; Angermeyer, Matthias; Bruffaerts, Ronny; Girolamo, Giovanni de; Gureje, Oye; Huang, Yueqin; Karam, Aimee; Kostyuchenko, Stanislav; Lepine, Jean Pierre; Mora, Maria Elena Medina; Neumark, Yehuda; Ormel, J. Hans; Pinto-Meza, Alejandra; Posada-Villa, Jose´; Stein, Dan J.; Takeshima, Tadashi; Wells, J. Elisabeth, "Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys," Plos Medicine (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Public Library of Science, July 2008) Vol. 5, Issue 7, p. e141.
http://www.plosmedicine.org...

63. Comparison of US and Europe

"Although statistics on drug use in the United States are not fully reliable, the numbers available indicate that US consumption of cocaine and marijuana has been essentially stable for many years—although considerably reduced from its peak in the 1970s and 1980s. The data also show that, today, the United States consumes illegal substances at a rate some three times that of Europe—although the use of drugs in the EU continues to grow rapidly and a few countries actually consume more per capita than the United States. In both the United States and Europe, the wholesale and street prices of cannabis and cocaine have declined in the past several years, although reportedly their potency has increased and demand remains steady. Across the world, illicit drugs appear to be available at stable or declining prices. A recent EU Commission study concluded that global drug production and use remained largely unchanged during the period from 1998 through 2007."

Hakim, Peter, "Rethinking US Drug Policy," Inter-American Dialogue (Washington, DC: The Beckley Foundation, February, 2010), p. 4.
http://www.thedialogue.org/upl...

64. Trends in Attitudes of US 12th Graders Toward Legalization of Any Illegal Drugs

"• In 2018 for the first time in the history of the survey the majority of 12th grade students did not favor legally prohibiting marijuana use in public places. The proportion of 12th graders who favor legally prohibiting marijuana use in public places decreased by 2 percentage points to 48% in 2018, continuing a long decline since 2008, when 70% favored prohibition. The percentage favoring legal prohibitions against use in private was also at a historic low of 22% in 2018, down from 82% in 1990.

"• The majority of 12th graders agree that people should be prohibited by law from using illicit drugs other than marijuana in public. (The questions specified people age 18 or older; presumably proportions would be even higher for those under 18.) For example, in 2018 the percentages agreeing to prohibition are 60% for amphetamines or sedatives (barbiturates), 65% for LSD, and 75% for heroin. Even use in private is opposed by substantial proportions; for example, 42% believe that use in private of amphetamines or sedatives (barbiturates) should be illegal, while 44% believe the same for LSD, and 66% believe it about heroin use.

"• In 2018, 38% of 12th graders believe that cigarette smoking in “certain specified public places” should be prohibited by law. Were the question more specific as to the types of public places in which smoking might be prohibited (e.g., restaurants or hospitals), quite different results might have emerged.

"• Less than half (42%) of 12th graders in 2018 think that getting drunk in public should be prohibited.

"• For all drugs included in the question, fewer 12th graders believe that use in private settings should be illegal, as compared with use in public settings. This is particularly true for getting drunk in private (which only 20% think should be illegal vs. 42% for getting drunk in public) and for smoking marijuana in private (which only 22% think should be illegal vs. 48% for smoking marijuana in public places)."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2019). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2018: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Available at
http://monitoringthefuture.org...
http://monitoringthefuture.org...

65. Global Estimated Drug-Related Mortality, 2011

"UNODC estimates that there were between 102,000 and 247,000 drug-related deaths in 2011, corresponding to a mortality rate of between 22.3 and 54.0 deaths per million population aged 15-64. This represents between 0.54 per cent and 1.3 per cent of mortality from all causes globally among those aged 15-64.20 The extent of drug-related deaths has essentially remained unchanged globally and within regions."

UNODC, World Drug Report 2013 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.13.XI.6), p. 10.
https://www.unodc.org/unodc/se...

66. Decriminalization Reduces Problematic Drug Use

"The information we have presented adds to the current literature on the impacts of decriminalization. It disconfirms the hypothesis that decriminalization necessarily leads to increases in the most harmful forms of drug use. While small increases in drug use were reported by Portuguese adults, the regional context of this trend suggests that they were not produced solely by the 2001 decriminalization. We would argue that they are less important than the major reductions seen in opiate-related deaths and infections, as well as reductions in young people’s drug use. The Portuguese evidence suggests that combining the removal of criminal penalties with the use of alternative therapeutic responses to dependent drug users offers several advantages. It can reduce the burden of drug law enforcement on the criminal justice system, while also reducing problematic drug use."

Hughes, Caitlin Elizabeth and Stevens, Alex, "What can we learn from the Portugese decriminalization of drugs?" British Journal of Criminology (London, United Kingdom: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, November 2010), Vol. 50, Issue 6, p. 1018.
http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/...

67. Use by Educational Status, 2011

"Illicit drug use in 2011 varied by the educational status of adults aged 18 or older, with the rate of current illicit drug use lower among college graduates (5.4 percent) than those with some college education (10.4 percent), high school graduates (8.9 percent), and those who had not graduated from high school (11.1 percent)."

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, p. 23.
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSD...

68. Hispanic Population

"In 2010, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, composing 16 percent of the total population .... Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent—rising from 35.3 million in 2000, when this group made up 13 percent of the total population.9 The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States."
According to the 2010 Census, "'Hispanic or Latino' refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."

Humes, Karen R.; Jones, Nicholas A; & Ramirez, Roberto R., "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010," U.S. Census Bureau (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, May 2010), p. 3.
http://www.census.gov/prod/cen...

69. US Population by Race

"In the 2010 Census, 97 percent of all respondents (299.7 million) reported only one race (see Table 1).10 The largest group reported White alone (223.6 million), accounting for 72 percent of all people living in the United States.11 The Black or African-American alone population was 38.9 million and represented 13 percent of the total population.12 There were 2.9 million respondents who indicated American Indian and Alaska Native alone (0.9 percent). Approximately 14.7 million (about 5 percent of all respondents) identified their race as Asian alone."

Humes, Karen R.; Jones, Nicholas A; & Ramirez, Roberto R., "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010," U.S. Census Bureau (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, May 2010), p. 4.
http://www.census.gov/prod/cen...

70. Marijuana Use and Other Illicit Drug Use by 50 Year Old High School Graduates in the US, 2012

"Among 50-year-old high school graduates in 2012, we estimate that about three quarters (74%) have tried marijuana, and that about two thirds (64%) have tried an illicit drug other than marijuana. (These estimates are adjusted to correct for panel attrition, as described in chapter 4 of Volume II.)
"Their current behavior is far less extreme than those statistics might suggest, but it is not by any means negligible. One in eight (12%) indicates using marijuana in the last 12 months, and one in ten (10%) indicates using any other illicit drug in the same period. Their past-month prevalence rates are lower—7.3% and 6.2%, respectively, for marijuana and any other illicit drug. About 1 in 43 (2.3%) is a current daily marijuana user, though substantially more indicate that they have used marijuana daily at some time in the past."

Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., and Schulenberg, J. E., (2013). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2012: Volume 2, College students and adults ages 19–50. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 37.
http://www.monitoringthefuture...

71. Current Illegal Substance Use Among Adults 50-64, 2013

"• Among adults aged 50 to 64, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.0 percent in 2013. For adults aged 50 to 54, the rate increased from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.9 percent in 2013 (Figure 2.10). Among those aged 55 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 5.7 percent in 2013. Among those aged 60 to 64, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 1.1 percent in 2003 and 2004 to 3.9 percent in 2013."

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. 24.
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSD...
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSD...

72. Drug Usage - 5-18-10

(Baby Boomers) "In 2007, the rate of past year use in this age group [persons aged 50 to 59] was 9.4 percent for any illicit drug, 5.7 percent for marijuana, and 4.0 percent for nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Analyses show that the observed increases are driven primarily by the aging of the baby boom cohort, which has a much higher lifetime illicit drug use rate than earlier cohorts, representing an increasing proportion of persons aged 50 to 59. Less than 3 percent of past year users initiated drug use at ages 50 to 59. Almost 90 percent of past year users initiated drug use before age 30, and many have been continuing users over the years."

Office of Applied Studies, "OAS Data Review: An Examination of Trends in Illicit Drug Use among Adults Aged 50 to 59 in the United States," (Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, August 2009), p. 8
http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/...

73. 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.
http://www.tricare.mil/tma/200...

74. Prevalence of Heavy Alcohol Use Among US Military Personnel

"• Among current drinkers, 39.6% reported binge drinking in the past month, with the Marine Corps reporting the highest prevalence of binge drinking (56.7%), and the Air Force reporting the lowest prevalence (28.1%).
"• When examining levels of drinking across all services, 9.9% were classified abstainers, 5.7% were former drinkers, and 84.5% were current drinkers; 58.6% of all personnel were classified as infrequent/light drinkers, 17.5% were moderate drinkers, and 8.4% were classified as heavy drinkers.
"• Heavy drinkers were more often in the Marine Corps (15.5%), had a high school education or less (12.6%), 21-25 years old (13.2%), unmarried (11.9%), and stationed OCONUS (9.9%).
"• In general, active duty personnel who were heavy drinkers, initiated alcohol use at earlier ages, or drank at work more often reported higher work-related productivity loss, serious consequences from drinking, began drinking at older ages, or did not drink at work.
"• Across all drinking levels, 11.3% of active duty personnel were classified as problem drinkers (AUDIT ≥), with 58.4% of heavy drinkers considered problem drinkers compared to 22.6% of moderate drinkers and 3.5% of infrequent/light drinkers."

2011 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel. Sponsored by the Department of Defense, TRICARE Management Activity, Defense Health Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, and the US Coast Guard. February 2013.
https://assets.documentcloud.o...
https://www.documentcloud.org/...

75. Positive Drug Tests Among Active Duty Soldiers in US Army

"Given that illicit drug use is inconsistent with Army Values, one would not expect the presence of multiple and serial drug offenders in the Army. Data for FY 2001 – FY 2009 indicate otherwise.76 Drug testing results reveal that of the total number of Soldiers tested, 3.5% (58,687 of 1,662,004) were positive for illicit drug use (see Table 7, page 50). That includes Soldiers who tested positive one, two or three or more times. When separated into these specific categories, 36,470 (62%) were first time positives, 11,828 (20%) were multiple, and 10,389 (18%) were serial offenders."

"Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Report," United States Army (Washington, DC: 2010), p. 77.
http://www.armyg1.army.mil...

76. 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.
http://www.armyg1.army.mil...

77. 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.
http://www.tricare.mil/tma/200...

78. 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.
http://www.tricare.mil/tma/200...

79. 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.
http://www.tricare.mil/tma/200...

80. 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).
http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k5/...

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