Illicit Drug Use Trends

The overall illicit drug use in the US is continuously increasing.

Illicit Drug Use Over Time

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the illicit drug use in the US increased from 9% to 10% within the past 6 years.

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Types of Drugs Used

The data available for 2015 show that the most used type of drug among persons aged 12 and older is marijuana.

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Other top drugs are pain relievers (5%), tranquilizers and stimulants (1%).

Drug Use by Gender

Males aged over 12 are more likely to use drugs than women. In 2015, 54% of men reported having used drugs in their lifetime.

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In 2015, 44% of women reported having used drugs in their lifetime, 15% in the past year, and 8% in the past month. 

Drug Use by Age

In 2015, more than half of the people that used drugs in the past month (63%) were aged over 26.

29% of illicit drug users are 18-25 years old.  10% of drug users are 12-17 years old.

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Drug Users’ Level of Education

 Most of the Americans over 26, who used drugs in 2015, have a college degree (17%).

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College graduates use drugs the least (13%), in comparison to other levels of education.

Drug Use and Employment

In 2015, one-fourth of Americans over 26 who used drugs in the past year were unemployed. Full-time and part-time employed Americans use drugs equally (16%).

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About one tenth of Americans, who are currently students, housekeepers, taking care of children, disabled, or retired, and not in the labor force, use drugs.

Illicit drug use, including the misuse of prescription medications, affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, and lung disease can all be caused by drug use. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use. However, other adverse effects can occur after only one or a few occasions of use. Substance use alone costs Americans more than $600 billion each year.

References:

  1. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) – 2014
  2. samhsa.gov

Nelly Botezatu

Gettreatment.com

Nelly Botezatu is a doctoral student in Economics. She enjoys learning new subjects, discovering trends, insights and data relationships. After studying the fundamentals of graphic design, she now presents her data analysis via infographics. She strives to add to the body of online knowledge for our clients.

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